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Design, Modeling and Control of a Simulator of an Aircraft Maneuver in the Wind Tunnel Using Cable Robot

Hami Tourajizadeh*, Mahdi Yousefzadeh, Ali Keymasi Khalaji, and Mahdi Bamdad
International Journal of Control, Automation, and Systems, vol. 20, no. 5, pp.1671-1681, 2022

Abstract : In this paper, a new controllable simulator is proposed and modeled by which, experimental tests of the aircraft’s models can be performed in wind tunnels with a high level of accuracy. These tests are unavoidable in order to extract the aerodynamic characteristics of the plant and optimize its related profiles. Drag and lift coefficients of the aircraft have a significant effect on the static and also dynamic maneuver of the airplane and thus evaluating these characteristics before manufacturing the aircraft are highly valuable in order to optimize the profile of their structures. To realize the mentioned target experimental tests can provide more accurate and trustable results rather than computer simulations. In order to conduct the wind tunnel tests with the highest accuracy, it is extremely significant to decrease any source of error such as disturbing drag forces. Thus it is required to control and manipulate the model of the aircraft with the aid of a mechanism that not only has the minimum effect on the drag force but also provides the least amount of deviation corresponding to drag forces. To do so, in this paper, a new cable robot is proposed as a proper candidate mechanism by which the disturbing drag force of the tunnel wind is minimum as a result of exact control of all of six spatial Degrees of Freedom (DOFs). Also, cables have the least cross-section area against the wind force and therefore the error of disturbing drags could be minimized. Moreover, there are other advantages for these kinds of robots such as low weight and cost, high load carrying capacity, and easy assembling capability. By proper design of the cables and actuators, it is possible to control all of the degrees of freedom of the end-effector during the dynamic maneuver of the aircraft and so it possible to perform all of the required static and dynamic tests of the plant. Therefore, in this paper first, the proper mechanism is designed and its related kinematics and kinetics modeling is provided. Besides, a robust controller is designed based on Non-Singular Fast Terminal Sliding Mode (NFTSM) to control the aircraft maneuver in presence of wind disturbance and complete the test process. All of the mentioned claims are verified by MATLAB simulations and the results confirm the mentioned expectancies.

Keyword : Cable robot, drag coefficient, flight simulator, non-singular fast terminal sliding mode (NFTSM), parameter identification, wind tunnel test.

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