A 3D fluid model has been developed to simulate streamer discharges in unsteady airflow. The model couples the drift–diffusion equation for charged particles, the Navier–Stokes equations for air, the Poisson’s equation for the electric field, and the Helmholtz equation for photoionization. It allows us to study electrical discharges at different timescales defined by light and heavy particles and to investigate the effects of unsteady airflow. The model treats the time integration in an implicit manner to allow longer time steps, which makes the simulation of long-duration discharges feasible. Moreover, the model uses an unstructured mesh allowing the calculation around solid bodies with complex geometries, and uses adaptive mesh refinement to lower the computation time. The validity and accuracy of the model has been verified by comparing its results with published results, which compares simulations in steady air from six different streamer codes. Our results are consistent and among the most accurate in terms of charge conservation. In order to investigate the influence of wind on streamer discharges, we present results from simulation of a long-duration discharge, in which two successive positive streamers are initiated from a positive polarity electrode in presence of a transverse airflow. This simulation shows that the impact of airflow on positive streamers is driven by the ions, and therefore the airflow effects are seen in ions timescale. Interestingly, we observe that the positive streamer channel, while tilting in the direction of the wind, remains attached to the surface of the electrode. The subsequent positive streamer emerges from the charges remaining from the initial streamer, which have been moved over the electrode surface toward the trailing edge. This mechanism shows and explains the clear tilting of the successive positive streamers in the direction of the wind.
- Streamer simulation
- Gas discharges
- Unsteady airflow
- Exponential integration scheme
- Adaptive mesh refinement