Research database

WATACO - WAll Turbulence Active COntrol

24 months (2023 - 2025)
Principal investigator(s):
Project type:
PNRR – Mission 4
Funding body:
MINISTERO (Ministero dell'Università e della Ricerca)
Project identification number:
Prot. P20227T9A3
PoliTo role:


The WAll Turbulence Active COntrol (WATACO) project aims at achieving reduction of the drag exerted by a turbulent flow on the flow-exposed surfaces by means of active flow control (AFC) techniques. The flow types considered are both internal (pipe and channel flows) and external (boundary layer flows) with or without an external pressure field and explore a broad range of Reynolds numbers. The project considers both an experimental and a numerical research approach. The considered flow forcing will be provided by wall-mounted dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma actuators (PAs) arranged into streamwise-aligned arrays and lain out such to induce a crossflow-oriented flow along the positive and negative direction alternatively. This configuration leads to an induced flow similar to the one caused by oscillating the flow-exposed wall. This forcing, when performed on turbulent flows, has shown huge values of net power saving, thus largely overtaking passive flow control approaches, due to the hindering of the turbulence-generation mechanisms and related friction drag reduction (Ghaemi, 2020, Physics of Fluids). WATACO deploys a research group, from two research institutions (Politecnico di Torino and Università di Bologna), with extended expertise on both the project's areas of research: flow control and, in the specific wall-turbulence control, and plasma actuators science. The group members feature younger and expert researchers which have already worked together in previous projects and showed a very good degree of cooperation. The project PI is Jacopo Serpieri, from PoliTO, who has considerable experience with PAs for AFC for both internal and external flows. The project co-PI is Artuto Popoli, from UniBO, expert in the fields of plasma-actuators science and electrical engineering. The project aims at developing the flow actuators to be then deployed in a channel flow and a boundary layer flow facility as well as in the world unique CICLoPE pipe flow facilities. The experiments will encompass a variety of flow diagnostics aimed at both global-effect and local-in detail investigations of the actuation outcomes. Furthermore, numerical simulations, for the channel-flow case, will also be carried out making use of a high-accuracy (DNS), computationally affordable (minimum box) code. These simulations will implement reliable body force fields generated by the PAs. These fields will be retrieved by the solution of the drift-diffusion problem describing the DBD discharge by means of accurate simulations eventually validated by ad hoc experiments. Finally, the experimental activities on the external flow, subject or not to an external pressure field, will shed light on the performance of the considered actuation when developing flows are operated. Pressure drag manipulation, along with the friction drag, is likely to occur and needs to be assessed towards a correct evaluation of the efficiency of the deployed AFC.

People involved





ERC sectors

PE8_1 - Aerospace engineering

Sustainable Development Goals

Obiettivo 8. Incentivare una crescita economica duratura, inclusiva e sostenibile, un’occupazione piena e produttiva ed un lavoro dignitoso per tutti


Total cost: € 224,852.00
Total contribution: € 224,852.00
PoliTo total cost: € 107,852.00
PoliTo contribution: € 107,852.00