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# Twin Rotor System Modeling, De-coupling

## And Optimal Control

Peng Wen Yan li
Faculty of Engineering and Surveying Faculty of Sciences
University of Southern Queensland,
Toowoomba 4350, QLD, Australia
University of Southern Queensland,
Toowoomba 4350, QLD, Australia
pengwen@usq.edu.au yan.li@usq.edu.au

Abstract - This paper proposes a new method to model, de-
couple and implement an optimal control for a twin rotor system.
We first model and decouple this twin rotor system into two
independent single input single output (SISO) systems, and
consider the coupling effects as the changes of system
parameters. For each of the SISO system, we design an optimal
robust controller independently, and then join them together. As
these optimal controllers can tolerate up to 50% changes in
system parameters, the joined system can tolerate the coupling
effects and keep its original SISO performance. This new method
is evaluated and verified in simulation.

Index Terms - Twin rotor system, Modeling, De-coupling,
Robust control, Optimal control.

I. INTRODUCTION
The twin rotor multi-input multi-output system (TRMS)
[1] is an aero-dynamical system similar to a helicopter as
shown in Figure 1. It consists of a beam pivoted on its base in
such a way that it can rotate freely both in its horizontal and
vertical planes. This TRMS system has two degrees of
freedom (DOF). Either the horizontal or the vertical degree of
freedom can be restricted to 1 degree of freedom using the
screws. At both end of a beam, there are two propellers driven
by DC motors. The aerodynamic force is controlled by
varying the speed of the motors. Therefore, the control inputs
are the supply voltages of the DC motors. The TRMS system
has main and tail rotors for generating vertical and horizontal
propeller thrust. The main rotor produces a lifting force
allowing the beam to rise vertically making a rotation around
the pitch axis. While, the tail rotor is used to make the beam
turn left or right around the yaw axis.
The state of the beam is described by four process variables:
horizontal and vertical angles measured by optical encoders
fitted at the pivot, and another two additional state variables
are the angular velocities of the rotors, measured by tacho-
generators coupled to the driving DC motors.
This paper is organized as the follows. Section 1 briefs the
TRMS system. Section 2 addresses the system model and our
method. In section 3, we present the details of our design
procedure. Section 4 shows the numerical simulations in
Simulink, and demonstrates the effective of the model. Section
5 gives the conclusion and future work.

II. TWIN ROTOR SYSTEM
The Twin Rotor MIMO System (TRMS) contains two main
features:
a) Nonlinear, there are two non-linear inputs which are
DC-motors.
b) Cross-coupling, Angular momentum and reaction
turning moment are the two main effects from cross-
coupling.
The main problem with this TRMS system is that the
controllers of tail and main rotor interact badly [2]-[7]. Also,
modeling non-linear rotor is a difficult task.[3, 4, 8-10] . Even
if we get the system model, however it might not exactly
represent the real-system for the entire input range. If we
apply PID controllers for the system for both main and tail
rotor, we would have six parameters to tuning [11]. The final
result would be influenced heavily by the tuning algorithm
and the performance is hard to predict [12, 13]. In order to
control system here, we use the technique proposed in [14, 15]
which includes a PID controller and a deadbeat controller. In
[14] Dawes claims that response will remain almost
unchanged when all the plant parameters vary by as much as
50%. We are going to decouple the system into two SISO
systems. We will design a controller for each of the SISO
systems using the above method. This time optimal controllers
designed are robust to system parameter changes. When we
join the two SISO systems together, the coupling effects are
considered as system parameter changes, and can be handled

Fig. 1 Schematic diagram of TRMS control system
1839 978-1-4244-8115-6/11/\$26.00 2011 IEEE
Proceedings of the 2011 IEEE
International Conference on Mechatronics and Automation
August 7 - 10, Beijing, China
the controller well. In directly, we have achieved the time
optimal control for this MIMO TRMS system.
First, the de-couple techniques are used to separate the
system into two SISO ones [16]. Without angular momentum
and reaction turning moment, the TRMS system will be
modeled into two 1-D systems in Figs. 2 and 3 as below:
Horizontal part (Tail Rotor)

Vertical part (Main Rotor)

The continuous transfer functions of the TRMS in vertical
and horizontal movements are given as:
1.519
( )
3 2
0.748 1.533 1.046
G s
m
s s s
=
+ + +
(1)
15.02
( )
3 2
3.458 2.225
G s
t
s s s
=
+ +
(2)
where ( ) G s
m
represents the transfer function of main rotor
and ( ) G s
t
represents the transfer function of tail rotor. These
transfer functions will be utilized throughout this work.

III. DESIGN METHOD
Figure 4 is the basic structure of the robust system design.
Richard Dorf and Jay Dawes created in 1994 [14, 15]. The
PID controller enables a system to achieve robustness;
however, it will only work for lower order plants. As a result,
there is a need for more variable gain when higher order
systems are analyzed. This design method has been tested
which would result in systems that are insensitive to plant
parameter variations of up to 50% .

An example is presented to illustrate the procedure using a
third order plant which has the transfer function of tail rotor in
TRMS system.
Refer to the basic structure, it can be simplified as Fig. 5.

The close loop transfer function
1 2
2 2 1 2 1
( ) ( ) ( )
( ) 1 ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
G s G s C s
R s G s H s G s G s H s
=
+ +
(3)
where
2
3
1
[ ( )]
( ) ( )
c
K K s Xs Y
G s G s
s
+ +
= =
(4)
2 3 2
15.02 15.02
( )
3.458 2.225 ( 2.603)( 0.8547)
G s
s s s s s s
= =
+ + + +
(5)
1
( ) (1 )
b
H s K s = + (6)
2
( )
a
H s K = (7)
Finally, we have
{ } { }
{ } { }
2
3
4 3 2
3 3 3
3 3 3
( ) 15.02 [ ( )]
( ) 3.458 15.02 2.225 15.02 15.02
15.02 15.02 15.02 15.02
b b
a b
C s K K s Xs Y
R s s K KK s KK KK K X s
K KK X KK KY s KKY
+ +
=
+ + + + + +
+ + + +
(8)
The characteristic equation of the transfer function is equal
to the characteristic equation of the deadbeat transfer function.
To obtain the characteristic equation of the deadbeat transfer
function, we set the characteristic equation of the closed loop
transfer function equal to:
4 3 2 2 3 4
n n n n
s s s s + + + + (9)
By looking up TABLE 1 to select the coefficients, to
determine
p
n for ( ) ( ) G s G s
c
, where
p
n equals the number of
poles in ( ) ( ) G s G s
c
.

2
( )
( )
s
c
K s Xs Y
G s
s
+ +
=
1
( ) G s
2
( ) G s
2
( ) Hs
1
( ) H s

Fig. 5 The basic structure of the robust system.
2
( )
( )
s
c
K s Xs Y
G s
s
+ +
=

Fig. 4 The basic structure of the robust system.

Fig. 3 The structure of the robust system design. (Vertical)

Fig. 2 The structure of the robust system design. (Horizontal)

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TABLE I

Deadbeat coefficients and response times. All times normalized by
n

set
n
=
s
T

## /(80% of the desired settling time

s
T )
4.81
3.00625
80% 1.6
s
n
s
T
T

= = =

(10)
Therefore, the characteristic equation of the deadbeat
transfers function is:
4 3 2
6.6138 31.6314 76.0735 81.6771 s s s s + + + +
(11)
Set K equal to 1 then
{ }
{ }
{ }
{ }
3
3 3
3 3
3
7 11.1386
14 89.71889
8 363.397
657.1
b
b
a b
K K
K K K X
K K X K K Y
K Y
+ =
+ + =
+ + + =
=
(12)
Hence
3
0.243; 45.848
17; 14.21; 38.6529
b a
K K
K X Y
= =
= = =
(13)
Select K until system meet deadbeat requirement
Once obtain the result in the two 1-DOF systems, these results
can be carried onto the 2-DOF twin rotor system below
(Fig. 6).

Fig. 6 The control structure of the 2-D system

IV. EVALUATION
To evaluate the above control schemes, we implemented the
designed TRMS system using Simulink. We started with the
decoupled SISO systems. In simulation we thoroughly
investigate the time domain specifications such as overshoot,
settling time, steady state error and compared the SISO
response with the joined MIMO system response.
For the 1-DOF vertical
For the vertical plant, where
3 2
1.519
( )
0.748 1.533 1.046
G s
m
s s s
=
+ + +
(14)
The desired settling time is 2 seconds. The gains
2.5453
a
K = and
3
7.723 K = are arbitrarily set. This result
in 3.131 X = and 6.963 Y = . 10 K = is found to produce the
desired response (Fig. 7).

For the 1-DOF Horizontal
The horizontal plant with a third order system where
3 2
15.02
( )
3.458 2.225
G s
t
s s s
=
+ +
(15)
It also has a settling time of 2 seconds. To find
n
,
s
T

is
divided by 80% of the desired settling time. Therefore,
choosing
0.5
b
K =
and 7.323 X = result in
12.95 Y = and 0.73
a
K = . Setting 7 K = gives the response
(Fig. 8).

Fig. 8 The response of tail rotor (K=7)

Fig. 7 The response of main rotor (K=10)
Order(n
p
) Ts
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
1.82
4.82
1.90 2.20 4.04
2.20 3.50 2.80 4.81
2.70 4.90 5.40 3.40 5.43
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For the 2-DOF
The settling time of both tail and main rotor set to 2 seconds.
By tuning each k both in horizontal and vertical plant until the
system response meet the requirement of deadbeat response
(Fig. 9).

V. CONCLUSION
We have successfully applied the time optimal robust
controller design technique to our TRMS system. This control
scheme does not include many complicated math and
calculation. It is generally based on the deadbeat controller
design procedure, and the tuning procedure of a PID controller.
It is easy to be accepted by industrial designers. Furthermore,
we only change the control scheme for the system without any
degree of freedom, at least, it includes 6 parameters. However
we can reduce it to 2 parameters in multi-input and multi-
output with cross-coupling system.

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Fig. 9 The response of tail and main rotor
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