Modeling and Control of Tensegrity-Membrane Systems

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Virginia Tech

Tensegrity-membrane systems are a class of new bar-tendon-membrane systems. Such novel systems can be treated as extensions of tensegrity structures and are generally lightweight and deployable. These two major advantages enable tensegrity-membrane systems to become one of the most promising candidates for lightweight space structures and gossamer spacecraft.

In this dissertation, modeling and control of tensegrity-membrane systems is studied. A systematic method is developed to determine the equilibrium conditions of general tensegrity-membrane systems. Equilibrium conditions can be simplified when the systems are in symmetric configurations. For one-stage symmetric systems, analytical equilibrium conditions can be determined.

Three mathematical models are developed to study the dynamics of tensegrity-membrane systems. Two mathematical models are developed based on the nonlinear finite element method. The other model is a control-oriented model, which is suitable for control design. Numerical analysis is conducted using these three models to study the mechanical properties of tensegrity-membrane systems.

Two control strategies are developed to regulate the deployment process of tensegrity-membrane systems. The first control strategy is to deploy the system by a nonlinear adaptive controller and use a linear H∞ controller for rapid system stabilization. The second control strategy is to regulate the dynamics of tensegrity-membrane systems using a linear parameter-varying (LPV) controller during system deployment. A gridding method is employed to discretize the system operational region in order to carry out the LPV control synthesis.

tensegrity-membrane systems, nonlinear finite element model, control-oriented model, nonlinear adaptive control, linear parameter-varying control