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Advanced Control for Flexible Structures: Boundary vs Distributed Control

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  • Full or part time
    Dr P Paoletti
    Dr J Y Tu
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Aims and Objectives

Control of dynamical systems governed by ordinary differential equations has seen a substantial development in the last few decades and several techniques have been created to control very complex processes including nonlinearities and uncertainties. On the other hand, control of systems governed by partial differential equations has not attracted a substantial attention yet and the theoretical framework is still in its infancy. This represents a major obstacle to the adoption of control to processes governed by partial differential equations, such as vibration of membranes and flexible structures and also processes involving fluid dynamics & mixing.

The aim of this project is to improve current techniques for control of processes described by partial differential equations. Although the developed theoretical framework will be applicable to a wide range of processes, in this project the focus will be mainly on flexible structures. In particular, a benchmark problem concerned with the control of a flexible slender structure (like a thin flexible rod) will be tackled using two different approaches: (i) distributed control and (ii) boundary control. In the first scenario, the structure deformation is monitored along the whole length (for example using strain gauges) and actuators (for example piezo strips) are distributed along the whole length as well. In the second scenario, on the other hand, actuators (e.g. motors) are placed only at the boundaries, whereas sensors can be either on the boundaries or distributed. Benefits and drawbacks of both scenarios will be assessed to inform the choice of the best technique for any given application.

The first part of the project, to be carried out at Liverpool (maximum duration: 24 months), will be devoted at developing the theoretical and simulation framework. The applicant is then expected to spend a maximum of 24 months at NTHU to validate and apply the theoretical work to lab test rigs and to further refine the proposed techniques.

The successful application will have a 2:1 honours degree or above (or equivalent) from either a mechanical or electrical engineering background that includes basic knowledge of dynamical systems, control techniques and programming skills. An interest in both theoretical and experimental control systems is preferred.

Any student interested should contact the primary supervisors, Dr Paolo Paoletti ([email protected]) and Dr Jia-Ying Tu ([email protected]) as soon as possible for further information.

The funding for this programme covers tuition fees and a contribution to living expenses of $10,000 New Taiwanese Dollars per month.

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