Date of Award

Summer 2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Director

Thomas Alberts

Committee Member

Colin P. Britcher

Committee Member

Jeremiah F. Creedon

Committee Member

Brett A. Newman

Committee Member

Oscar R. Gonzalez


Vehicle-guideway interaction studies of Magnetically Levitated (Maglev) vehicles indicate that structural flexibility can adversely affect the overall stability and performance of such systems. This is one of the reasons why guideways are generally made very rigid. This in turn leads to increased cost of the overall system since guideway construction forms a significant portion of the overall cost. In this dissertation, the influence of structural flexibility on the stability of Electromagnetic Suspension (EMS) Maglev systems is studied. It is shown how inherently unstable and flexible structure EMS Maglev systems can achieve guaranteed stability by using collocated actuators and sensors, along with de-centralized Proportional plus Derivative (PD) controllers. These results are valid even in the presence of Track/Guideway flexibility.

A detailed dynamic model is developed for the EMS Maglev demonstration system (Test Bogie) currently under research and development at Old Dominion University (ODU). This model incorporates structural dynamics with flexible modes of vibration, non-linear electrodynamics, feedback controllers, discrete time implementation, noise filters and disturbance inputs. This model is validated via real time experimental testing. The model thus validated is used for simulation case studies involving levitation and lateral disturbance, lateral control, and centralized control.


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