Dubrovnik, Croatia, September 15-18, 2019

A Journey toward integrating material, structure, signal processing, and control design

Robert Skelton, Texas A&M University

We lack a “systems design” theory that can coordinate the resources and expertise of each discipline (materials, structures, signal processing, and control) to achieve the final performance requirements. This talk outlines some small steps toward the integration of these disciplines. First, minimal mass solutions to several fundamental problems in engineering mechanics will be given (minimal mass structures under compression, tension, bending). Second, a fractal approach will allow the complexity of the structure to span scales from nano to mega size, while guaranteeing pre-specified mechanical properties. Third, these self-similar (fractal) approaches can lead to sensing and actuating structures that can measure applied forces, or deliver specified forces, while serving their primary function as structural members. This introduces signal processing and finite signal-to-noise ratios in the measurement or control problems. Selecting each sensor/actuator precision simultaneously with estimation or control design is the final integration step, to design and build materials/structures and controls that cooperate with each other.