Sliding mode control of the reaction wheel pendulum

Access full-text files




Luo, Zhitong

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The Reaction Wheel Pendulum (RWP) is an interesting nonlinear system. A prototypical control problem for the RWP is to stabilize it around the upright position starting from the bottom, which is generally divided into at least 2 phases: (1) Swing-up phase: where the pendulum is swung up and moves toward the upright position. (2) Stabilization phase: here, the pendulum is controlled to be balanced around the upright position. Previous studies mainly focused on an energy method in swing-up phase and a linearization method in stabilization phase. However, several limitations exist. The energy method in swing-up mode usually takes a long time to approach the upright position. Moreover, its trajectory is not controlled which prevents further extensions. The linearization method in the stabilization phase, can only work for a very small range of angles around the equilibrium point, limiting its applicability. In this thesis, we took the 2nd order state space model and solved it for a constant torque input generating the family of phase-plane trajectories (see Appendix A). Therefore, we are able to plan the motion of the reaction wheel pendulum in the phase plane and a sliding mode controller may be implemented around these trajectories. The control strategy presented here is divided into three phases. (1) In the swing up phase a switching torque controller is designed to oscillate the pendulum until the system’s energy is enough to drive the system to the upright position. Our approach is more generic than previous approaches; (2) In the catching phase a sliding surface is designed in the phase plane based on the zero torque trajectories, and a 2nd order sliding mode controller is implemented to drive the pendulum moving along the sliding surface, which improves the robustness compared to the previous method in which the controller switches to stabilization mode when it reaches a pre-defined region. (3) In the stabilization phase a 2nd order sliding mode integral controller is used to solve the balancing problem, which has the potential to stabilize the pendulum in a larger angular region when compared to the previous linearization methods. At last we combine the 3 phases together in a combined strategy. Both simulation results and experimental results are shown. The control unit is National Instruments CompactRIO 9014 with NI 9505 module for module driving and NI 9411 module for encoding. The Reaction Wheel Pendulum is built by Quanser Consulting Inc. and placed in UT’s Advanced Mechatronics Lab.



LCSH Subject Headings