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The Whirling Blade and the Steaming Cauldron


Bodenheimer, Robert Edward (1995) The Whirling Blade and the Steaming Cauldron. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/fmwm-mm97.


This dissertation applies recent theoretical developments in control to two practical examples. The first example is control of the primary circuit of a pressurized water nuclear reactor. This is an interesting example because the plant is complex and its dynamics vary greatly over the operating range of interest. The second example is a thrust-vectored ducted fan engine, a nonlinear flight control experiment at Caltech.

The main part of this dissertation is the application of linear parameter-dependent control techniques to the examples. The synthesis technique is based on the solution of linear matrix inequalities (LMIs) and produces a controller which achieves specified performance against the worst-case time variation of measurable parameters entering the plant in a linear fractional manner. Thus the plant can have widely varying dynamics over the operating range, a quality possessed by both examples. The controllers designed with these methods perform extremely well and are compared to H, gain-scheduled, and nonlinear controllers.

Additionally, an in-depth examination of the model of the ducted fan is performed, including system identification. From this work, we proceed to apply various techniques to examine what they can tell us in the context of a practical example. The primary technique is LMI-based model validation.

The contribution this dissertation makes is to show that parameter-dependent control techniques can be applied with great effectiveness to practical applications. Moreover, the trade-off between modelling and controller performance is examined in some detail. Finally, we demonstrate the applicability of recent model validation techniques in practice, and discuss stabilizability issues.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:(Electrical Engineering)
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Electrical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Doyle, John Comstock
Thesis Committee:
  • Doyle, John Comstock (chair)
  • Perona, Pietro
  • Murray, Richard M.
  • McEliece, Robert J.
  • Packard, Andrew K.
Defense Date:2 June 1995
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-09112007-080755
Persistent URL:
Bodenheimer, Robert Edward0000-0002-0616-5936
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:3468
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:17 Sep 2007
Last Modified:31 Aug 2022 23:29

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