M.S. Thesis Presentation by Matt Christopher
Tuesday, March 26, 2002

(Dr. Ben Zinn, advisor)

"Real Time Control of Combustor and Engine Processes"


There is increased interest in incorporating control systems into combustors and engines in an effort to improve these systems. Possible improvements include performing combustion at a higher efficiency, reducing emissions, and increasing control over combustion instabilities. Such a control system generally consists of a sensor, actuator, and a controller. While all of these control system elements are currently under development, the controller element was the focus of this research. Two of the main problems associated with the controller are inputting/outputting multiple channels of data and the speed of control. For example, combustion instabilities occur at frequencies up to 1000 Hz and require the sampling of pressure measurements at real time speeds for control to be possible.

A fast real time system of inputting to and outputting from a control computer by way of advanced data boards for multiple channels of information was developed. For this system, specific input/output boards that function in the QNX real time operating system were purchased and analyzed. Inside this operating system, control algorithms were developed for specific projects of the Georgia Tech Combustion Lab. These projects include active control of combustion instabilities, control of a microgenerator, and control of a lean premixed flame. In this presentation, the development, successes, and limitations of the real time system are discussed, and ideas for future development of this scheme are given.