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Development and Application of Modern Optimal Controllers for a Membrane Structure Using Vector Second Order Form
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With increasing advancement in material science and computational power of current computers that allows us to analyze high dimensional systems, very light and large structures are being designed and built for aerospace applications. One example is a reflector of a space telescope that is made of membrane structures. These reflectors are light and foldable which makes the shipment easy and cheaper unlike traditional reflectors made of glass or other heavy materials. However, one of the disadvantages of membranes is that they are very sensitive to external changes, such as thermal load or maneuvering of the space telescope. These effects create vibrations that dramatically affect the performance of the reflector. To overcome vibrations in membranes, in this work, piezoelectric actuators are used to develop distributed controllers for membranes. These actuators generate bending effects to suppress the vibration. The actuators attached to a membrane are relatively thick which makes the system heterogeneous; thus, an analytical solution cannot be obtained to solve the partial differential equation of the system. Therefore, the Finite Element Model is applied to obtain an approximate solution for the membrane actuator system. Another difficulty that arises with very flexible large structures is the dimension of the discretized system. To obtain an accurate result, the system needs to be discretized using smaller segments which makes the dimension of the system very high. This issue will persist as long as the improving technology will allow increasingly complex and large systems to be designed and built. To deal with this difficulty, the analysis of the system and controller development to suppress the vibration are carried out using vector second order form as an alternative to vector first order form. In vector second order form, the number of equations that need to be solved are half of the number equations in vector first order form. Analyzing the system for control characteristics such as stability, controllability and observability is a key step that needs to be carried out before developing a controller. This analysis determines what kind of system is being modeled and the appropriate approach for controller development. Therefore, accuracy of the system analysis is very crucial. The results of the system analysis using vector second order form and vector first order form show the computational advantages of using vector second order form. Using similar concepts, LQR and LQG controllers, that are developed to suppress the vibration, are derived using vector second order form. To develop a controller using vector second order form, two different approaches are used. One is reducing the size of the Algebraic Riccati Equation to half by partitioning the solution matrix. The other approach is using the Hamiltonian method directly in vector second order form. Controllers are developed using both approaches and compared to each other. Some simple solutions for special cases are derived for vector second order form using the reduced Algebraic Riccati Equation. The advantages and drawbacks of both approaches are explained through examples. System analysis and controller applications are carried out for a square membrane system with four actuators. Two different systems with different actuator locations are analyzed. One system has the actuators at the corners of the membrane, the other has the actuators away from the corners. The structural and control effect of actuator locations are demonstrated with mode shapes and simulations. The results of the controller applications and the comparison of the vector first order form with the vector second order form demonstrate the efficacy of the controllers.
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