Development of a Digital Controller for a Vertical Wind Tunnel (VWT) Prototype to Mitigate Ball Fluctuations
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The objective of this research was to mitigate fluctuations of a levitated ping pong ball within a vertical wind tunnel (VWT) prototype. This was made possible by remodeling the VWT system with its inherent nonlinear characteristics instead of assuming constant parameter relationships. By considering these nonlinearities a more accurate model was developed that better represented the actual system. The gain scheduling controller technique was chosen to control the ball’s vertical displacement within VWT prototype. After remodeling the VWT’s dynamics, the transfer function gain, for three different specified equilibrium points, were found to be within ±35% of the original system dynamics’ gain which explain why ball fluctuation was present. Also, three different controllers were developed to mitigate fluctuations at 0.10m, 0.15m and 0.20m. The three controllers were combined to create the gain scheduled controller; however, no testing has been done due to sudden, last minute hardware malfunction.
Silva, Ramon A. (2010). Development of a Digital Controller for a Vertical Wind Tunnel (VWT) Prototype to Mitigate Ball Fluctuations. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from