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An Aerodynamic Study of the "Electric Wind"


Harney, Donald James (1957) An Aerodynamic Study of the "Electric Wind". Engineer's thesis, California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z774-ZM53.


The basic physical process considered is the appearance of a pressure gradient in a slightly ionized gas under the influence of an electric field. On a molecular scale this process involves the acceleration of ions in an electric field and the transfer of momentum to the main body of the fluid through collisions. A particular phenomenon involving this basic process is the pressure gradient in a point corona discharge and the resulting "electric wind". The experimental arrangement studied is a point to a downstream coaxial cylinder discharge in air. The difficulity of applying boundary conditions to the mathematical description of the process requires some simplifying assumptions. A simple one-dimensional model of the physical situation is considered, the electrical field equations being approached from the consideration of a space charge limited current. The functional relations derived appear consistent with the experimental results for the limiting cases implied by the assumptions. Velocity variations encountered in the induced flow of air present questions regarding the bulk parameter which describes the molecular interchange of momentum, the ion mobility. While this experiment was not for the purpose of measuring ion mobilities, it is believed that in any applications involving the basic process in the working fluid of the aerodynamicist the time, density, temperature and humidity dependence of the ion mobility requires data which is not now available.

Item Type:Thesis (Engineer's thesis)
Subject Keywords:(Aeronautical Engineering)
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Coles, Donald Earl
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:1 January 1957
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-04012004-134019
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1238
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:02 Apr 2004
Last Modified:15 Aug 2023 22:30

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PDF (Harney_dj_1957.pdf) - Final Version
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