State-space model identification and feedback control of unsteady aerodynamic forces

Unsteady aerodynamic models are necessary to accurately simulate forces and develop feedback controllers for wings in agile motion; however, these models are often high dimensional or incompatible with modern control techniques. Recently, reduced-order unsteady aerodynamic models have been developed for a pitching and plunging airfoil by linearizing the discretized Navier-Stokes equation with lift-force output. In this work, we extend these reduced-order models to include multiple inputs (pitch, plunge, and surge) and explicit parameterization by the pitch-axis location, inspired by Theodorsen's model. Next, we investigate the na\"{\i}ve application of system identification techniques to input--output data and the resulting pitfalls, such as unstable or inaccurate models. Finally, robust feedback controllers are constructed based on these low-dimensional state-space models for simulations of a rigid flat plate at Reynolds number 100. Various controllers are implemented for models linearized at base angles of attack $\alpha_0=0^\circ, \alpha_0=10^\circ$, and $\alpha_0=20^\circ$. The resulting control laws are able to track an aggressive reference lift trajectory while attenuating sensor noise and compensating for strong nonlinearities.

Comments: 20 pages, 13 figures

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