Variable structure techniques in control system design
David, J. Tristan
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During the last twenty years, control theorists belonging almost exclusively to the USSR, have laid down the foundations of variable-structure systems (commonly abbreviated to vsS). As the name implies, such systems are allowed to change their structure through time in accordance with some preassigned algorithm. The theory has demonstrated that some significant advantages could be gained by adopting that approach in the, design of automatic control systems, amongst which are good transient responses and insensitivity to parametric variations and to external disturbances. The VS controller is slightly more complex than a fixed structure design based on standard methods such as state feedback or frequency response techniques, but is a great deal less complex than some adaptive designs. It also lends itself to a straightforward microcomputer implementation. While the theoretical aspect of VSS has been well explored, its general applicability to engineering problems is yet to be established. There are still unanswered questions as to the suitability of the method for practical systems, which invariably contain a certain amount of noise, uncertainties and nonlinearities. The work described in this thesis concentrates on that particular aspect and is, in brief, an investigation of VSS as an engineering design procedure. The theory of VSS is reviewed and the principles are then applied to a number of engineering examples. The performance of the systems are assessed from digital simulation runs, hybrid computation and the microcomputer control of a DC motor.