Damage-mitigating control of aircraft for enhanced structural durability

Jeffrey Caplin, Asok Ray, Suresh M. Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The concept and a design methodology for robust damage-mitigating control (DMC) of aircraft is presented. The goal of DMC is to simultaneously achieve high performance and structural durability and the design procedure is based on damage mitigation at critical structures and retention of the flight performance. An aeroelastic model of the wings has been formulated and is incorporated into a nonlinear rigid-body modal of aircraft flight-dynamics. Robust damage-mitigating controllers are then designed using the H -based structured singular value (μ) synthesis method based on a linearized model of the aircraft. In addition to penalizing the error between the ideal performance and the actual performance of the aircraft, frequency-dependent weights are placed on the strain amplitude at the root of each wing. Using each controller in turn, the control system is put through an identical sequence of maneuvers, and the resulting (varying amplitude cyclic) stress profiles are analyzed using a fatigue crack growth model that incorporates the effects of varying-amplitude cyclic loading. Comparisons are made to determine the impact of different strain-amplitude weights on the resulting flight performance and fatigue crack damage in the wings. The results of simulation experiments show significant savings in fatigue life of the wings while retaining the dynamic performance of the aircraft.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)849-862
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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