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Full-scale aircraft structural fatigue tests are extremely complex from a control systems viewpoint. There are usually a large number of actuators with significant interactions between them and control is made more difficult because the load cells usually move with the actuators. A linear state space model of a structural test was previously developed as an aid to understand these tests better.
This paper presents a method by which these models could be interfaced with a structural test controller to allow a test engineer or operator to run a virtual test prior to assembling test hardware. An example of a simple cantilever beam with two actuators connected to an analog servo-controller is described. It was possible to simulate the beam using four modes and two actuators with integration step sizes of up to 1 ms. The interaction between actuators could be demonstrated, and the system shows excellent potential as an education tool for new operators. Larger systems can be simulated since the execution time for this example was less than 100 μs. Systems that are more complex could be simulated using a combination of more powerful controller boards
aircraft, control, fatigue, full-scale testing, modeling, servo-hydraulic, simulation
Senior research officer, Institute for Aerospace Research, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario