Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


Eric Mehiel


In addition to serving as a brief overview of aspects relevant to reduced-order modeling (in particular balanced-state and modal techniques) as applied to structural finite element models, this work produced tools for visualizing the relationship between the modes of a model and the states of its balanced representation.

Specifically, error contour and mean error plots were developed that provide a designer with frequency response information absent from a typical analysis of a balanced model via its Hankel singular values. The plots were then used to analyze the controllability and observability aspects of finite element models of an illustrative system from a modal perspective -- this aided in the identification of computational artifacts in the models and helped predict points at which to halt the truncation of balanced states.

Balanced reduced-order reference models of the illustrative system were implemented as part of a direct adaptive control algorithm to observe the effectiveness of the models. It was learned that the truncation point selected by observing the mean error plot produced the most satisfactory results overall -- the model closely approximated the dominant modes of the system and eliminated the computational artifacts.

The problem of improving the performance of the system was also considered. The truncated balanced model was recast in modal form so that its damping could be increased, and the settling time decreased by about eighty percent.