Design and Analysis of a Magnetic Levitation System for Control Systems Courses

Open Access
Dalenberg, Jason
Graduate Program:
Electrical Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
September 08, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Jeffrey Louis Schiano, Thesis Advisor
  • Ji Woong Lee, Thesis Advisor
  • compensator design
  • system identification
  • design and analysis
  • magnetic levitation
The objective of this thesis is to develop a low-cost electromagnetic levitation test bed that can be used to demonstrate concepts of feedback control systems as applied to linearized models of non-linear systems. This test bed is particularly interesting because it can be used to demonstrate both repulsive and attractive levitation. From a control standpoint, these correspond to stable and unstable equilibrium points of a non-linear system. An inexpensive commercial system, using attractive levitation, is analyzed and later compared to the developed test bed as an educational tool. Parametric modeling and system identification techniques are used to determine the linearized models of both systems around an operating point. These models are used in the design of feedback controllers, which are implemented and verified experimentally. Experimental results suggest that heating due to power dissipation in the electromagnet varies the system model over time, resulting in degradation of the transient response characteristics. Overall, the developed electromagnetic levitation test bed proves to be a cost-effective educational tool for both undergraduate and graduate level studies of control systems topics.