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Control of a Duct Flow Network for Wind Display in a Virtual Environment

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5 Author(s)
Kulkarni, S.D. ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA ; Chakravarthy, S. ; Minor, M.A. ; Pardyjak, E.R.
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Control of flow in duct networks has a myriad of applications ranging from heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning to blood flow networks. The system considered here provides vent velocity inputs to a novel 3-D wind display device called the TreadPort Active Wind Tunnel. An error-based robust decentralized sliding-mode control method with nominal feedforward terms is developed for individual ducts while considering cross coupling between ducts and model uncertainty as external disturbances in the output. This approach is important due to limited measurements, geometric complexities, and turbulent flow conditions. Methods for resolving challenges such as turbulence, electrical noise, valve actuator design, and sensor placement are presented. The efficacy of the controller and the importance of feedforward terms are demonstrated with simulations based upon an experimentally validated lumped parameter model and experiments on the physical system. Results show significant improvement over traditional control methods and validate prior assertions regarding the importance of decentralized control in practice.

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Mechatronics, IEEE/ASME Transactions on  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 6 )