Two-dimensional numerical simulation of a surface dielectric barrier discharge (SDBD) plasma actuator, driven by a nanosecond voltage pulse, is conducted. A special focus is laid upon the influence of grid resolution on the computational result. It is found that the computational result is not very sensitive to the streamwise grid spacing, whereas the wall-normal grid spacing has a critical influence. In particular, the computed propagation velocity changes discontinuously around the wall-normal grid spacing about 2 μm due to a qualitative change of discharge structure. The present result suggests that a computational grid finer than that was used in most of previous studies is required to correctly capture the structure and dynamics of streamer: when a positive nanosecond voltage pulse is applied to the upper electrode, a streamer forms in the vicinity of upper electrode and propagates along the dielectric surface with a maximum propagation velocity of 2 × 108 cm/s, and a gap with low electron and ion density (i.e., plasma sheath) exists between the streamer and dielectric surface. Difference between the results obtained using the finer and the coarser grid is discussed in detail in terms of the electron transport at a position near the surface. When the finer grid is used, the low electron density near the surface is caused by the absence of ionization avalanche: in that region, the electrons generated by ionization is compensated by drift-diffusion flux. In contrast, when the coarser grid is used, underestimated drift-diffusion flux cannot compensate the electrons generated by ionization, and it leads to an incorrect increase of electron density.
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