Date of Graduation
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
This dissertation presents the development of a fault tolerant control scheme for helicopters fitted with individually controlled blades. This novel approach attempts to improve fault tolerant capabilities of helicopter control system by increasing control redundancy using additional actuators for individual blade input and software re-mixing to obtain nominal or close to nominal conditions under failure. An advanced interactive simulation environment has been developed including modeling of sensor failure, swashplate actuator failure, individual blade actuator failure, and blade delamination to support the design, testing, and evaluation of the control laws. This simulation environment is based on the blade element theory for the calculation of forces and moments generated by the main rotor. This discretized model allows for individual blade analysis, which in turn allows measuring the consequences of a stuck blade, or loss of the surface area of the blade itself, with respect to the dynamics of the whole helicopter. The control laws are based on non-linear dynamic inversion and artificial neural network augmentation, which is a mix of linear and nonlinear methods that compensates for model inaccuracies due to linearization or failure. A stability analysis based on the Lyapunov function approach has shown that bounded tracking error is guaranteed, and under specific circumstances, global stability is guaranteed as well. An analysis over the degrees of freedom of the mechanical system and its impact over the helicopter handling qualities is also performed to measure the degree of redundancy achieved with the addition of individual blade actuators as compared to a classic swashplate helicopter configuration. Mathematical analysis and numerical simulation, using reconfiguration of the individual blade control under failure have shown that this control architecture can potentially improve the survivability of the aircraft and reduce pilot workload under failure conditions.
Tamayo, Sergio, "Design of fault tolerant control system for individual blade control helicopters" (2011). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 3053.