Date of Award

Winter 2006

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Director

Thomas E. Alberts

Committee Member

Colin P. Britcher

Committee Member

Jeremiah F. Creedon

Committee Member

Oscar R. Gonzalez

Committee Member

Brett A. Newman


Electromagnetic suspension of Magnetic Levitation Vehicles (Maglev) has been studied for many years as an alternative to wheel-on rail transportation systems. In this work, design and implementation of control systems for a Maglev laboratory experiment and a Maglev vehicle under development at Old Dominion University are described. Both plants are modeled and simulated with consideration of issues associated with system non-linearity, structural flexibility and electromagnetic force modeling. Discussion concerning different control strategies, namely centralized and decentralized approaches are compared and contrasted in this work. Different types of electromagnetic non-linearities are considered and described to establish a convenient method for modeling such a system. It is shown how a Finite Element structural model can be incorporated into the system to obtain transfer function notation. Influence of the dynamic interaction between the Maglev track and the Maglev vehicle is discussed and supported by both analytical results and theoretical examples. Finally, several control laws designed to obtain stable and robust levitation are explored in detail.