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Modeling, simulation and robust control of an electro-pneumatic actuator for a variable geometry turbocharger

Abstract : The choice of technology for automotive actuators is driven by the need of high power to size ratio. In general, electro-pneumatic actuators are preferred for application around the engine as they are compact, powerful and require simple controlling devices. Specially, Variable Geometry Turbochargers (VGTs) are almost always controlled with electro-pneumatic actuators. This is a challenging application because the VGT is an important part of the engine air path and the latter is responsible for intake and exhaust air quality and exhaust emissions control. With government regulations on vehicle pollutant emissions getting stringent by the year, VGT control requirements have also increased. These regulations and requirements can only be fulfilled with precise dynamic control of the VGT through its actuator. The demands on actuator control include robustness against uncertainty in operating conditions, fast and smooth positioning without vibration, limited number of measurements. Added constraints such as nonlinear dynamic behavior of the actuator, friction and varying aerodynamic forces in the VGT render classical control methods ineffective. These are the main problems that form the core of this thesis.In this work, we have addressed the above mentioned problems, using model based control complemented with robust control methods to overcome operational uncertainties and parametric variations. In the first step, a detailed physical model of an electro-pneumatic actuator has been developed; taking into account the nonlinear characteristics originating from air compressibility and friction. Means to compensate for aerodynamic force have been studied and implemented in the next step. These include model parametric adaptation and one dimensional CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) modeling. The complete model has been experimentally validated and a sensitivity analysis has been conducted to identify the parameters which have the greatest impact upon the actuator's behavior. The detailed simulation model has then been simplified to make it suitable for control purposes while keeping its essential behavioral characteristics (i.e. transients and dynamics). Next, robust controllers have been developed around the model for the control objective of accurate actuator positioning in presence of operational uncertainty. An important constraint in commercial actuators is that they provide output feedback only, as they are only equipped with low-cost position sensors. This hurdle has been overcome by introducing observers in the control loop, which estimate other system states from the output feedback. The estimation and control algorithms have been validated in simulation and experimentally on diesel engine test benches.
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Adeel Mehmood. Modeling, simulation and robust control of an electro-pneumatic actuator for a variable geometry turbocharger. Computers and Society [cs.CY]. Université de Technologie de Belfort-Montbeliard, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012BELF0188⟩. ⟨tel-00827445⟩

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