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Title: Optimal fault-tolerant flight control for aircraft with actuation impairments
Author: Almutairi, Saif H.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5915 6149
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2016
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Current trends towards greater complexity and automation are leaving modern technological systems increasingly vulnerable to faults. Without proper action, a minor error may lead to devastating consequences. In flight control, where the controllability and dynamic stability of the aircraft primarily rely on the control surfaces and engine thrust, faults in these effectors result in a higher extent of risk for these aspects. Moreover, the operation of automatic flight control would be suddenly disturbed. To address this problem, different methodologies of designing optimal flight controllers are presented in this thesis. For multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) systems, the feedback optimal control is a prominent technique that solves a multi-objective cost function, which includes, for instance, tracking requirements and control energy minimisation. The first proposed method is based on a linear quadratic regulator (LQR) control law augmented with a fault-compensation scheme. This fault-tolerant system handles the situation in an adaptive way by solving the optimisation cost function and considering fault information, while assuming an effective fault detection system is available. The developed scheme was tested in a six-degrees-of-freedom nonlinear environment to validate the linear-based controller. Results showed that this fault tolerant control (FTC) strategy managed to handle high magnitudes of the actuator’s loss of effciency faults. Although the rise time of aircraft response became slower, overshoot and settling errors were minimised, and the stability of the aircraft was maintained. Another FTC approach has been developed utilising the features of controller robustness against the system parametric uncertainties, without the need for reconfiguration or adaptation. Two types of control laws were established under this scheme, the H∞ and µ-synthesis controllers. Both were tested in a nonlinear environment for three points in the flight envelope: ascending, cruising, and descending. The H∞ controller maintained the requirements in the intact case; while in fault, it yielded non-robust high-frequency control surface deflections. The µ-synthesis, on the other hand, managed to handle the constraints of the system and accommodate faults reaching 30% loss of effciency in actuation. The final approach is based on the control allocation technique. It considers the tracking requirements and the constraints of the actuators in the design process. To accommodate lock-in-place faults, a new control effort redistribution scheme was proposed using the fuzzy logic technique, assuming faults are provided by a fault detection system. The results of simulation testing on a Boeing 747 multi-effector model showed that the system managed to handle these faults and maintain good tracking and stability performance, with some acceptable degradation in particular fault scenarios. The limitations of the controller to handle a high degree of faults were also presented.
Supervisor: Aouf, N. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available