Smart Structure

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Control Vibrations in Tall Building-like Structures

The Quanser Smart Structure is a stand-alone bench-scale model of a tall building instrumented with an eccentric load. It is ideal to study control techniques used to suppress vibrations in tall buildings. Using the Smart Structure, students learn how to:

  • derive the dynamical equations representing the displacement of the top of the beam and the angle of the inertial load using the principles of Lagrange
  • obtain a linear state-space representation of the system from the dynamical equations previously found
  • find the stiffness of the flexible beam by measuring its natural frequency
  • design a proportional-derivative controller using the LQR method to dampen the deflection of the beam when disturbance is applied

In addition to teaching control concepts, the Smart Structure can be used for research in various areas.

Create a Configuration That Suits your Needs

The Smart Structure can be used as a stand-alone system or as an add-on structure for any of Quanser Shake Tables to create experiments of increased complexity.

How It Works

The Smart Structure device consists of a flexible beam mounted on a base support plate. The beam is fitted with a strain gage sensor to measure deflection of the beam. A motorized inertial load is placed at the other end of the beam. The inertial load is actuated by a high efficiency, low inductance DC motor via a gearbox, the angle of the load is measured by an optical encoder.

Quanser-developed Courseware Included

The Smart Structure experiment comes with Quanser-developed courseware. The Laboratory Guide, together with a comprehensive User Manual, pre-designed controllers and a dynamic model allow you to get your lab running faster, saving months of time typically required to develop lab materials.

  • Inertia load consisting of two rigid beams and a round crossbeam
  • Base plate instrumented with a precise strain gage
  • Flexible operation and control design from MATLAB®/Simulink® via QUARC®
  • High quality DC servo motor and gearbox
  • High resolution optical encoder
  • Precisely machined solid aluminum parts
  • Fully documented system models and parameters
  • Open architecture design
Dimensions (L x W x H) 25.5 cm x 11.5 cm x 85.5 cm (with pendulum in upright position)
Mass 2.6 kg
Rigid beam length 29.2 cm
Flexible beam length 44.0 cm
Encoder resolution (in quadrature) 4096 counts/rev
Strain gage sensitivity 2.54 cm/V

Topics included in Quanser-developed courseware:

  • Lagrange model derivation
  • State-space representation
  • Linearization
  • PID control
  • State-feedback / LQR control
  • Cascade / multiple loops control
  • Vibration control
The Smart Structure can be also used to teach other topics not included in the Quanser-developed courseware.

To set up your Smart Structure workstation, you need additional components. Quanser engineers recommend:

for MATLAB®/Simulink® users  
1x Q2-USB data acquisition device¹  
1x VoltPAQ-X1 linear voltage amplifier  
QUARC real-time control software  

¹ alternatively, you can use Q8-USBQPIDe or any equivalent NI DAQ device supported by QUARC

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