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Negative derivative feedback for vibration control of flexible structures

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2012 Smart Mater. Struct. 21 075024


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Smart Mater. Struct. 21 (2012) 075024 (10pp) doi:10.1088/0964-1726/21/7/075024

Negative derivative feedback for vibration

control of flexible structures
G Cazzulani, F Resta, F Ripamonti and R Zanzi
Politecnico di Milano, Mechanical Engineering Department, Via La Masa 1 Milano, Italy


Received 1 March 2012, in final form 20 April 2012

Published 22 June 2012
Online at
In this paper a resonant control technique, called negative derivative feedback (NDF), for
structural vibration control is presented. Resonant control is a class of control logics, based on
the modal approach, which calculates the control action through a dynamic compensator in
order to achieve a damping increase on a certain number of system modes. The NDF
compensator is designed to work as a band-pass filter, cutting off the control action far from
the natural frequencies associated with the controlled modes and reducing the so-called
spillover effect. In the paper the proposed control logic is compared both theoretically and
experimentally with the most common state-of-the-art resonant control techniques.
(Some figures may appear in colour only in the online journal)

1. Introduction IMSC is the so-called spillover effect [10], which can lead
the system to instability associated with significant modes
In recent decades, vibration control has assumed more and neglected in the control tuning.
more importance owing to the significant development of light To solve this problem several approaches have been
and highly flexible structures. The main problem for these proposed, such as those in [9, 11]. In this sense, one of the
systems is related to the amplification of vibrations near their best known control strategy families is the so-called ‘resonant
natural frequencies, mainly due to the low damping ratio control’. These control logics calculate the feedback action
associated with the first structure modes. A high vibration through a dynamic system, typically a first- or second-order
level can lead to a degradation of system performance in terms compensator. It returns a control force that, at the resonance
both of positioning error (consider, for example, a robotic frequencies under investigation, is opposite in phase to
manipulator) and system health and lifetime. the velocity and so produces a damping effect on the
In order to prevent this issue a possible approach is to corresponding vibration modes.
act directly on the input disturbance. In this sense many One of the first resonant control logics, developed
examples about the disturbance estimators/compensators [1, by Caughey and Fanson in the 1980’s [12, 13], is the
2] and the input shaping method [3, 4] are present in the positive position feedback (PPF) [14–17]. In this solution,
scientific literature. On the other side, vibration suppression the generalized displacement is fed back with a positive
can be applied, improving the system frequency response sign through a second-order dynamic system acting, in
function (FRF) through a suitable control action able to reduce other words, as a low-pass filter. As a consequence, the
the resonance peaks. PPF effectively reduces the spillover on the higher modes,
Since in many flexible structures only few vibration but it introduces a significant static error and in general
modes are significant, modal space control techniques are a worsening of system response at lower frequencies. A
very attractive for active vibration suppression. One of the dual solution is represented by the active modal tuned mass
most important control logics is the independent modal space damper (AMTMD) [18]. This control logic, developed in
control (IMSC) [5–7], developed in the 1980s, but still used modal approach as well, is based on an active realization
with success nowadays [8]. Under a number of assumptions, of the classic passive TMD theory and supplies a control
it allows one to modify the damping and stiffness of each force 90◦ shifted with respect to the displacement at the
controlled mode independently. The most important limit of system resonance frequencies. As shown below, it works as a

0964-1726/12/075024+10$33.00 1 c 2012 IOP Publishing Ltd Printed in the UK & the USA

Smart Mater. Struct. 21 (2012) 075024 G Cazzulani et al

high-pass filter. Similarly in recent years the negative position of M−1

x Kx , the coordinate change from physical to modal
feedback (NPF) [19], which is based on a negative feedback space can be performed through
of the compensator displacement, has been presented. Besides
these logics, in recent years another resonant control x = Φtot qtot , (2)
technique, called integral resonant control (IRC) has been where qtot is the vector containing all the n modal coordinates.
developed in [20–22]. The IRC is based on the assumption of Equation (1) becomes
interlaced poles and zeros, keeping the phase of the controlled  
system FRF, between the actuator and the sensor, in the Mtot q̈tot + Rtot q̇tot + Ktot qtot = ΦTtot ΛT fc + fd , (3)
[−π ; 0] range. In any case, this assumption holds if and only
if sensor and actuator are co-located, limiting its use in many where Mtot and Ktot are always n × n diagonal matrices, while
real applications where the sensors/actuators positioning is Rtot is a diagonal matrix under the assumption of Rayleigh
not fully manageable by the control designer. proportional damping. Equation (3) is a series of n decoupled
In this paper a different resonant control logic, the equations representing the contribution of each mode on the
negative derivative feedback (NDF), is proposed. Like PPF, system’s vibrations.
NPF and AMTMD it calculates the feedback force by In any case, in typical applications, disturbance forces act
means of a second-order dynamic system. In any case, the only in a limited range of frequencies. Besides, higher modes
compensator design allows the NDF to be more robust than are typically very damped and hard to excite and they can
other logics with respect to the spillover effects. In fact, acting often be neglected in the control formulation. If the system
as a pass-band filter, it cuts off both the higher and lower dynamics in the considered frequency range are governed only
uncontrolled modes’ contribution. by a few modes q, (2) can be rewritten as
For the sake of completeness, in the first part of the paper
the modal space theory is reported. Next, the most common x = Φq, (4)
resonant control logics, already present in the literature, are where q contains only the contribution of the m considered
briefly described, highlighting their main features. Then the modes and Φ is a n × m partition of Φtot containing only
NDF is described in detail, pointing out its characteristics the eigenvectors associated with the m considered modes.
and its advantages with respect to state-of-the-art techniques. Substituting (4) in (1), and normalizing the eigenvectors so
Finally a numerical and experimental investigation, carried that the modal mass is unitary, m decoupled modal equations
out on a specifically created test rig, is reported and the can be obtained
performances of the different control logics are compared.
q̈i + 2ξi ωi q̇i + ωi2 qi = uc,i + fd,i , (5)
2. Modal space formulation where the subscript ‘i’ represents the generic ith mode,
while ξi and ωi are respectively the damping ratio and
Consider a generic linear mechanical system, whose dynamics natural frequency of the ith mode. uc,i and fd,i represent the
are governed by second order differential equations: generalized control and disturbance forces acting on the ith
mode. The relationship between the physical control forces fc
Mx ẍ + Rx ẋ + Kx x = ΛT fc + fd , (1)
and the generalized modal forces uc is
fc = (ΦT ΛT )−1 uc . (6)
• Mx , Rx and Kx are the inertial, damping and stiffness
matrices of the system; Supposing a number of actuators and sensors equal to the
number of modelled modes m, the generic control law can
• x is the independent variable vector;
be designed to act independently on each mode. In any case,
• Λ is the Jacobian matrix linking the displacement of the the truncation error can affect the stability of the controlled
points where the control forces fc are applied and the
system. The uncontrolled modes in fact can be excited by
degrees of freedom x of the system;
the actuators and read by the sensors, causing the so-called
• fd represents the generalized disturbance forces acting on spillover effect [10] and worsening the system’s dynamic
the system. behaviour.
In many practical applications, the number of degrees
of freedom and, as a consequence, the dimension of the 3. State-of-the-art resonant controllers
system matrices is too large. This situation is typical of both
complex lumped systems and distributed systems such as Among the different control techniques known in the scientific
flexible structures, where (1) comes from a discretization of literature, the resonant control family represents a widespread
the infinite degrees of freedom of the system. These equations solution to vibration control problems. The aim is to apply a
can hardly be used to define active control strategies. In force 90◦ out-of-phase with respect to the displacement. In
this sense, modal space formulation becomes very attractive particular, resonant control is a strategy that calculates the
since it describes the system’s behaviour in a certain range feedback forces through a compensator (figure 1). Typically
of frequencies considering a limited number of degrees of the cut-off frequency of the compensator is set equal to the
freedom (i.e. modes). Calling Φtot the n×n eigenvector matrix natural one (ωi ) of the considered mode.

Smart Mater. Struct. 21 (2012) 075024 G Cazzulani et al

Figure 1. Block diagram of the compensator of resonant


Below, an overview of resonant controls theory is

presented. Since these control logics work in modal space,
the single-mode equation (5) can be considered to describe
the controllers’ formulation. The extension to a multi-modal
control can be performed through (6). Figure 2. Frequency response function between the PPF control
force and the modal velocity.
3.1. Independent modal space control

Independent modal space control is based on a direct feedback

of the system modal coordinates. In this sense it can be seen
as a particular case of resonant control. Using this approach
it is possible to set the natural frequencies and damping ratios
of each controlled mode. The control action is defined by
uc,i = −Gp,i qi − Gv,i q̇i , (7)
where Gp,i and Gv,i are two control gains, which can be
calculated by imposing the eigenvalues of the controlled
system (natural frequency and damping ratio) or by optimal
control methods such as LQR. In many vibration control
applications the target is the increase of damping in order to
reduce resonance dynamic amplification, while the system’s
natural frequencies are generally kept equal to those of the
Figure 3. Schematics of a classical passive TMD.
uncontrolled system. In these cases it is possible to set Gp,i =
0 and the control force becomes proportional to the system’s
modal velocity. depending only on the knowledge of the system’s natural
frequency. Owing to its low-pass nature, the PPF rolls off
3.2. Positive position feedback quickly at frequencies higher than its resonance (ωf ) and, for
this reason, it is robust to spillover problems due to higher
Positive position feedback (PPF) is based on a first- or modes. On the other hand it causes a worsening of system
second-order compensator which considers the displacement behaviour under the natural frequency. Figure 2 shows the
of the system (or modal coordinate) as an input. For first-order frequency response function (FRF) between the control force
PPF, the control force is calculated as and the modal velocity q̇, highlighting the low-pass nature of
ui = hωf ηi η̇i + ωf ηi = ωf qi , (8) this controller.

where ηi represents the independent variable of the

compensator, ωf is the cut-off frequency of the compensator 3.3. Active modal tuned mass damper
and h is the control gain. For the second-order PPF, on the
other hand, the control force is computed by The tuned mass damper (TMD) is a widely used solution for
passive vibration suppression, based on the idea of providing
ui = hωf2 ηi an inertial force 90◦ shifted with respect to the system
η̈i + 2ξf ωf η̇i + ωf2 ηi = ωf2 qi , position. The simplest way to provide this force consists
where ξf represents the damping of the compensator. in connecting an additional mass to the structure through
Considering the single degree of freedom system, PPF a spring–damper element (figure 3) and opportunely tuning
stability is assured by the additional elements, synchronizing the natural frequencies
and optimizing the damping. However, passive TMD has
ωi some limits related to the possible working frequencies, to the
h≤ , (10)
ωf additional masses and to the maximum achievable damping

Smart Mater. Struct. 21 (2012) 075024 G Cazzulani et al

Figure 4. Frequency response function between the AMTMD Figure 5. Frequency response function between the NDF control
control force and the modal velocity. force and the modal velocity.

and, in general, it performs less well for low-frequency modes auxiliary variable η
owing to its inertial nature.
Starting from the TMD formulation, it is possible to ui = −gi η̇
define a resonant controller, called active modal tuned mass η̈i + 2ξi ωi η̇i + ω2 ηi = ki (q̇i − η̇i ) ,
damper (AMTMD), which works as a PPF on the system
where ki and gi are two gains and ξi and ωi are the natural
modal coordinates and overcomes the limits of passive TMD.
frequency and damping ratio of the compensator, equal to
Considering again the single degree of freedom, the modal
those of the system. Equation (12) allows us to calculate the
force and the compensator can be now defined as
transfer function between the control force and the modal
ui = mci (ωc2 (q − η) + 2ξc ωc (q̇ − η̇)) velocity as
η̈i + 2ξc ωc η̇ + ωc2 η = 2ξc ωc q̇ + ωc2 q, Ui (s) ki gi s
=− 2 , (13)
Q̇i (s) s + (2ξi ωi ) s + ω2
where ηi is again the compensator variable, ξc and ωc
represent respectively the damping ratio and natural frequency where s is the Laplace variable. Equation (13) represents the
of TMD, while mc,i represents the inertial term of the mass transfer function of a band-pass filter. For this reason, the
damper, typically set between 5% and 10% of the modal control force rolls off both for frequencies higher and lower
mass. The values of these parameters can be tuned using than the controlled one (figure 5), reducing both the spillover
optimization rules typical of passive TMD [23]. Considering effects typical of IMSC and AMTMD and the low-frequency
the single degree of freedom equation this formulation, thanks amplification occurring with PPF.
to its passive nature, is stable for every parameter value. From the stability point of view, the NDF compensator
Owing to its formulation, the relationship between the control equation (12) must be evaluated together with the system
force and the modal velocity is represented by a high-pass modal equation (5)
filter (figure 4). Similarly also NPF, being a particular active ( ) " #( )
realization of the mechanical dynamic absorber in which in q̈i 2ξi ωi gi q̇i
the equivalent mechanical system the spring and damper are η̈i −ki 2ξi ωi + ki η̇i
in series instead of parallel, acts as a high-pass filter. " #( ) ( )
ωi2 0 qi fd,i
+ = . (14)
0 ωi 2
ηi 0
4. Negative derivative feedback
It can be seen that, while the inertia and stiffness matrices
As described in section 3.3, all the resonant controllers
are always symmetrical and defined positive, the damping
presented are designed to reduce the interaction between
matrix is not symmetrical. It means that the stability of the
control action and higher or lower uncontrolled modes.
controlled system depends on the values of the two gains gi
However, each control logic introduces a side effect that can
and ki and on the damping of the uncontrolled system.
reduce the stability margin on the uncontrolled modes.
To overcome these problems, a control logic able to 5. Numerical and experimental analysis
reduce the effects both for high and low frequencies is
proposed. This logic has been called negative derivative This section describes the numerical and experimental tests
feedback (NDF) because of the formulation of the control carried out to validate the proposed control logic and compare
force, including a negative feedback of the velocity of the it with the solutions already known. In order to consider

Smart Mater. Struct. 21 (2012) 075024 G Cazzulani et al

vibration measurement is performed by three piezoelectric

accelerometers (Bruel & Kjaer 4501A), while the control
forces are provided by two piezoelectric patches (Mide
QP20W). A disturbance force can be applied to the system
through a third piezoelectric patch. A numerical model of
the beam was created through the finite-element method
(FEM) to tune the parameters of the different control logics
and to define the best location for sensors and actuators.
The position of each sensor and actuator with respect to
the clamp is summarized in table 1 and it was decided to
obtain a significant contribution on each controlled mode in
order to ensure system controllability and observability. In
fact,as known in the literature [24], the position of sensors
and actuators can strongly affect the performance of the
control in vibration suppression. The contribution of the
Figure 6. The test rig used to test the resonant control techniques.
sensors is evaluated in terms of modal displacement, while
the most general case, non-co-located actuators and sensors the contribution of the actuators is evaluated in terms of
were considered and two structural modes were controlled. modal curvature, since the piezoelectric patches work on the
The first part of the section describes in detail the test curvature of the beam, and thus they are able to effectively
rig and its numerical model, while later some experimental excite a given mode if mounted in a region of high curvature
results, highlighting the performance of the different resonant of that mode shape (figure 7).
controllers, are shown. The numerical model was validated through experimental
tests. Since all the control strategies considered are based
5.1. The test rig and the numerical model on modal space, it becomes important to verify that both
natural frequencies and modal shapes are represented well
The test rig is represented by a clamped aluminum beam, by the numerical model. Besides, the two constants α and
whose dimensions are 1 m×0.04 m×0.0061 m (figure 6). The β describing system damping (Rayleigh assumption) are

Figure 7. Position of the accelerometers with respect to the modal shape of mode 1 (a) and 2 (c) and position of the actuators with respect
to the modal curvature of mode 1 (b) and 2 (d).

Smart Mater. Struct. 21 (2012) 075024 G Cazzulani et al

Figure 8. Numerical/experimental comparison of first (a) and second (b) modal shapes.

Table 1. Position of actuators and sensors with respect to the clamp.

Position Position
Actuator (mm) Sensor (mm)
Control 1 100 Accelerometer 1 400
Control 2 300 Accelerometer 2 600
Disturbance 500 Accelerometer 3 950

Table 2. Comparison between numerical and experimental

eigenfrequencies and damping ratios.
Mode 1 Mode 2 Mode 3
Numerical eigenfrequency (Hz) 5.00 30.84 87.26
Numerical damping ratio (—) 0.43 0.10 0.20
Experimental eigenfrequency 5.03 30.93 87.27
Experimental damping ratio 0.42 0.16 0.19 Figure 9. Frequency response function between the first actuator
(—) and third accelerometer: amplitude (a) and phase (b).

Table 3. Parameters of AMTMD for the first and second mode

estimated, allowing us to define the numerical damping ratio compared with the optimal value range of passive TMD.
associated with each mode. Table 2 resumes the numerical
Passive TMD
and estimated natural frequencies and damping ratios, while Mode 1 Mode 2 values
figure 8 compares the numerical modal shapes with the
mc,i (%) 1 1 5–10
experimental ones, evaluated at the sensor positions. ξc,i (%) 20 15 10–20
Finally, figure 9 shows the numerical/experimental
comparison in terms of the frequency response function (FRF)
between the first actuator’s input (a torque for the numerical
Considering the IMSC formulation (section 3.1), it is
FRF and a voltage command for the experimental one) and
possible to directly assign the damping ratio associated with
the tip acceleration output. The constant amplitude shift is
the controlled modes. For this application the damping was
the relationship between the input voltage and the torque of
set to 6.5% on the first mode and to 0.5% on the second
the piezoelectric patch. As expected for this kind of actuator,
mode. The low damping achieved on the second mode is due
this relationship, in the considered frequency range, is simply
to the occurrence of spillover instability on the higher modes.
a constant and the actuators can be assumed as ideal (null
Figure 10 shows the comparison between the controlled and
dynamics or delay).
uncontrolled systems in terms of the FRF amplitude between
the disturbance force and tip acceleration.
5.2. Results and discussion The AMTMD control force, as introduced in section 3.3,
works as a high-pass filter. As a consequence, this control is
The numerical and experimental tests were performed by very sensitive to high-frequency disturbances and to spillover
optimizing the control parameters in order to obtain the on higher modes and the typical optimal parameter values
maximum damping effect on the controlled modes without of classical passive TMD cannot be applied in order to
causing spillover effects on the uncontrolled ones. Thanks to keep the system stable. In particular, the reduced mass value
good agreement between the numerical model and the test rig, causes a low control force on the system, limiting AMTMD
the optimization can be computed on the numerical model. performance, as shown in figure 11. Table 3 shows the

Smart Mater. Struct. 21 (2012) 075024 G Cazzulani et al

Figure 10. Frequency response function between disturbance force and tip acceleration with IMSC control: numerical amplitude (a) and
phase (b) and experimental amplitude (c) and phase (d).

Figure 11. Frequency response function between disturbance force and tip acceleration with AMTMD control: numerical amplitude (a)
and phase (b) and experimental amplitude (c) and phase (d).

parameters considered for this application compared with the Table 4. Parameters of PPF for the first and second mode.
optimal ones of classical passive TMD.
Mode 1 Mode 2
PPF, compared with the control logics presented so far,
has low sensitivity to high-frequency modes owing to the gi (—) 0.1 0.1
low-pass behaviour of its compensator. As a consequence, ξc,i (%) 20 60
the increase of the damping imposed on the controlled modes
causes a negligible effect on the higher modes if compared, for modes (typical of IMSC and AMTMD) and low-frequency
example, with IMSC. For each controlled mode, setting the amplification (typical of PPF). Setting the cut-off frequency
cut-off frequency of the compensator equal to the considered and damping of the compensator equal to those associated
eigenfrequency, the behaviour of PPF control is governed by with the controlled mode, the only control parameter is the
two parameters: the damping of the compensator and the gain gain. For this application, the optimal control gains are 0.045
(see section 3.2). These two values were optimized in order to and 0.002 for the first and second modes respectively. The
obtain the maximum damping effect on the controlled modes, optimal tuning of NDF allows us to obtain very good results
but limiting the ‘double peak’ effect on the frequency response in terms of peak reduction of frequency response function
function amplitude. Table 4 shows the optimized parameter amplitude, avoiding low-frequency worsening and spillover.
values, while figure 12 shows PPF performance with respect Figure 13 show the numerical and experimental comparison
to the uncontrolled system. Thanks to the optimization of the
between the controlled (with NDF) and uncontrolled system.
control parameters, only a small ‘double peak’ effect is visible
on the first mode. On the other hand, an amplification of the 5.3. Comparison between the control logics
system response is introduced, as expected, below the first
natural frequency. The experimental analysis performed with the different
Finally, the performance of the proposed negative control logics and shown in section 5.2 provided results
derivative feedback is analysed and compared with the state- consistent with the numerical analysis and with the results
of-the-art solutions. As shown in section 4, the compensator expected from the theory. IMSC allows us to directly set the
associated with this control logic works as a band-pass filter, damping associated with the controlled modes, but since these
limiting both the incidence of spillover instability on higher values are imposed starting from the reduced modal space,

Smart Mater. Struct. 21 (2012) 075024 G Cazzulani et al

Figure 12. Frequency response function between disturbance force and tip acceleration with PPF control: numerical amplitude (a) and
phase (b) and experimental amplitude (c) and phase (d).

Figure 13. Frequency response function between disturbance force and tip acceleration with NDF control: numerical amplitude (a) and
phase (b) and experimental amplitude (c) and phase (d).

unwanted spillover effects can arise, compromising control Table 5. Damping ratios (%) of the controlled modes with different
performance and leading the system to instability. AMTMD resonant control techniques compared with those of the
uncontrolled system.
calculates the control force starting from the formulation of
classical passive TMD. Thanks to the correspondence with Mode 1 Mode 2
a passive system, each compensator parameter has a precise No control 0.42 0.16
physical meaning and it can be tuned starting from the IMSC 6.50 0.51
knowledge of passive TMD optimized solutions. Since the AMTMD 1.90 0.90
PPF 4.20 1.25
tuning is done on the reduced model, spillover effects can
arise owing to the high-frequency sensitivity of this control NDF 14.12 1.96
algorithm. In this case, the reduction of the virtual mass of
the compensator allows us to reduce control forces and, as the other resonant controllers, achieving better performance in
a consequence, high-frequency problems, but at the same terms of vibration reduction and damping increase.
time it reduces also control performance on the considered A synthetic comparison between the resonant control
modes if compared with IMSC. PPF allows us to overcome logics is shown in table 5, where the damping ratios
the problems shown by IMSC and AMTMD, through the achieved on the controlled modes with the different solutions
introduction of a low-pass compensator tuned to the natural compared with the uncontrolled system damping are reported.
frequency considered. Unfortunately, as a side effect, PPF is Figures 14 and 15 show the decay tests respectively on the first
more sensitive to low-frequency disturbances. and second mode with and without control. In both cases the
Finally, the proposed negative derivative feedback allows damping increase due to NDF is higher than that due to the
us to obtain better performance, since it limits both the other controls.
problems of IMSC, AMTMD and PPF. The band-pass 6. Conclusions
formulation of its compensator allows NDF to be effective
in filtering out higher and lower frequency disturbances. For In the present work a resonant control technique for
this reason, the control gains can be increased with respect to damping increase and vibration suppression, called negative

Smart Mater. Struct. 21 (2012) 075024 G Cazzulani et al

Figure 14. Controlled and uncontrolled decay on the first mode using IMSC (a), AMTMD (b), PPF (c) and NDF (d).

Figure 15. Controlled and uncontrolled decay on the second mode using IMSC (a), AMTMD (b), PPF (c) and NDF (d).

derivative feedback (NDF), was proposed. This control logic, motion is numerically integrated on the control board. The
formulated considering a modal space approach, is based control action is provided through a negative feedback of the
on a second-order dynamic compensator, whose equation of first derivative of the compensator variable. NDF has been

Smart Mater. Struct. 21 (2012) 075024 G Cazzulani et al

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