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Modelling, control and monitoring of high redundancy actuation

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date1/06/2010
Number of pages301
Awarding Institution
  • Loughborough University
Award date1/06/2010
Place of publicationLoughborough
  • Loughborough University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The High Redundancy Actuator (HRA) project investigates a novel approach to fault tolerant actuation, which uses a high number of small actuation elements, assembled in series and parallel in order to form a single intrinsically fault tolerant actuator. Element faults affect the maximum capability of the overall actuator, but through control techniques, the required performance can be maintained. This allows higher levels of reliability to be attained in exchange for less over-dimensioning in comparison to conventional redundancy techniques. In addition, the combination of both serial and parallel elements provides intrinsic accommodation of both lock-up and loose faults. Research to date has concentrated on HRAs based on electromechanical technology, of relatively low order, controlled through passive Fault Tolerant Control (FTC) methods. The objective of this thesis is to expand upon this work. HRA configurations of higher order, formed from electromagnetic actuators are considered. An element model for a moving coil actuator is derived from first principles and verified experimentally. This element model is then used to form high-order, non-linear HRA models for simulation, and reduced-order representations for control design. A simple, passive FTC law is designed for the HRA configurations, the results of which are compared to a decentralised, active FTC approach applied through a framework based upon multi-agent concepts. The results indicate that limited fault tolerance can be achieved through simple passive control, however, performance degradation occurs, and requirements are not met under theoretically tolerable fault levels. Active FTC offers substantial performance improvements, meeting the requirements of the system under the vast majority of theoretically tolerable fault scenarios. However, these improvements are made at the cost of increased system complexity and a reliance on fault detection. Fault Detection (FD) and health monitoring of the HRA is explored. A simple rule-based FD method, for use within the active FTC, is described and simulated. An interacting multiple model FD method is also examined, which is more suitable for health monitoring in a centralised control scheme. Both of these methods provide the required level of fault information for their respective purposes. However, they achieve this through the introduction of complexity. The rule-based method increases system complexity, requiring high levels of instrumentation, and conversely the interacting multiple model approach involves complexity of design and computation. Finally, the development of a software demonstrator is described. Experimental rigs at the current project phase are restricted to relatively low numbers of elements for practical reasons such as cost, space and technological limitations. Hence, a software demonstrator has been developed in Matlab/Simulink which provides a visual representation of HRAs with larger numbers of elements, and varied configuration for further demonstration of this concept.