Date of Award


Embargo Period


Access Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering Physics


Doctoral Studies

Committee Chair

William MacKunis, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Sergey V. Drakunov, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Mahmut Reyhanoglu, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Yechiel Crispin, Ph.D.


Robust nonlinear control design strategies using sliding mode control (SMC) and integral SMC (ISMC) are developed, which are capable of achieving reliable and accurate tracking control for systems containing dynamic uncertainty, unmodeled disturbances, and actuator anomalies that result in an unknown and time-varying control direction. In order to ease readability of this dissertation, detailed explanations of the relevant mathematical tools is provided, including stability denitions, Lyapunov-based stability analysis methods, SMC and ISMC fundamentals, and other basic nonlinear control tools. The contributions of the dissertation are three novel control algorithms for three different classes of nonlinear systems: single-input multipleoutput (SIMO) systems, systems with model uncertainty and bounded disturbances, and systems with unknown control direction. Control design for SIMO systems is challenging due to the fact that such systems have fewer actuators than degrees of freedom to control (i.e., they are underactuated systems). While traditional nonlinear control methods can be utilized to design controllers for certain classes of cascaded underactuated systems, more advanced methods are required to develop controllers for parallel systems, which are not in a cascade structure. A novel control technique is proposed in this dissertation, which is shown to achieve asymptotic tracking for dual parallel systems, where a single scalar control input directly affects two subsystems. The result is achieved through an innovative sequential control design algorithm, whereby one of the subsystems is indirectly stabilized via the desired state trajectory that is commanded to the other subsystem. The SIMO system under consideration does not contain uncertainty or disturbances. In dealing with systems containing uncertainty in the dynamic model, a particularly challenging situation occurs when uncertainty exists in the input-multiplicative gain matrix. Moreover, special consideration is required in control design for systems that also include unknown bounded disturbances. To cope with these challenges, a robust continuous controller is developed using an ISMC technique, which achieves asymptotic trajectory tracking for systems with unknown bounded disturbances, while simultaneously compensating for parametric uncertainty in the input gain matrix. The ISMC design is rigorously proven to achieve asymptotic trajectory tracking for a quadrotor system and a synthetic jet actuator (SJA)-based aircraft system. In the ISMC designs, it is assumed that the signs in the uncertain input-multiplicative gain matrix (i.e., the actuator control directions) are known. A much more challenging scenario is encountered in designing controllers for classes of systems, where the uncertainty in the input gain matrix is extreme enough to result in an a priori-unknown control direction. Such a scenario can result when dealing with highly inaccurate dynamic models, unmodeled parameter variations, actuator anomalies, unknown external or internal disturbances, and/or other adversarial operating conditions. To address this challenge, a SMCbased self-recongurable control algorithm is presented, which automatically adjusts for unknown control direction via periodic switching between sliding manifolds that ultimately forces the state to a converging manifold. Rigorous mathematical analyses are presented to prove the theoretical results, and simulation results are provided to demonstrate the effectiveness of the three proposed control algorithms.