Lightweight design is gaining more and more importance in the automotive industry. Engineers are trying hard to reduce
the increased weight of chassis due to safety and comfort issues.
This paper presents new achievements in the field of control design for smart structures, targeting at innovative
lightweight, high-performance and low-noise engineering constructions with integrated embedded systems technology:
The first part of the paper focuses on new developments in the field of low-cost, highly efficient smart structure power
electronics for piezoelectric elements. These elements will be integrated into automotive chassis, which are able to
measure any structure-borne disturbance such as vibrations.
The second part of the paper presents frontier research in the design of a high-performance control concept for smart
structure applications. This innovative control concept based on a nonlinear state observer design, targets at highly robust
and broadband suppression of structure-borne noise in terms of fast changing frequencies. The controller performance is
not only assessed with respect to stability and disturbance rejection but also with respect to technical feasibility and
implementation issues (required sample rate, rounding errors due to inappropriate data formats, latency, etc.).
The actuating physical mechanisms utilized in smart materials can be described by eigenstrains. E.g., the converse piezoelectric effect in a piezoelastic body may be understood as an actuating eigenstrain. In the last decades, piezoelectricity has been extensively applied for the sake of actuation and sensing of structural vibrations. An important field of research in this respect has been devoted to the goal of compensating force-induced vibrations by means of eigenstrains.
Considering the state-of-the-art in structural control and smart materials, almost no research has been performed on the problem of compensating stresses in force-loaded engineering structures by eigenstrains. It is well-known that stresses can influence the characteristics and the age of structures in various unpleasant ways. The present contribution is concerned with corresponding concepts for stress compensation which may have a highly beneficial influence upon the lifetime and structural integrity of the structure under consideration. We discuss the possibilities offered by displacement compensation to reduce the stresses to their quasi-static parts. As a numerical example, we consider the step response of an irregularly shaped cantilevered elastic plate under the action of an assigned traction at its boundary.