Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member

Woosoon Yim

Second Committee Member

Mohamed B. Trabia

Number of Pages



The goal of this work is to develop efficient control algorithms for the control of a smart projectile fin. Smart fins are deployed as soon as the projectile reaches the apogee and are used to steer the projectile towards its target by controlling the rotation angle of the fin. The fin is actuated using the piezoelectric macro-fiber composite (MFC) bimorph actuator which is completely enclosed within the aero-shell. The actuator is composed of two Macro Fiber Composites (MFC's), manufactured by Smart Material Co. The presented smart fin design minimizes the volume and weight of the unit; Two different models of the smart fin are developed. One is mathematical model that uses finite element approach to describe dynamics of the smart fin system. This model includes the aerodynamic moment which is a function of the angle of attack of the projectile. Second model is based on system identification approach. A linear model of the actuator and fin is identified experimentally by exciting the system using a chirp signal. Comparison is done between these two models based on open-loop step response of the smart fin system; In this dissertation, five kinds of control systems based on fuzzy logic, inverse dynamics and adaptive structure theory are developed. The aerodynamic disturbances and parameter uncertainties are considered in these controllers. The simulation results illustrate that asymptotic trajectory tracking of the fin angle is achieved, in spite of uncertainties in the system parameters and presence of aerodynamic disturbance. A prototype model of the projectile fin is developed in the laboratory for real-time control. The designed controllers are validated using the subsonic wind tunnel at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) for various wind speeds. Experimental results show that the designed controllers accomplish fin angle control.


Actuator; Adaptive Control; Bimorph Actuators; Experimental; Fin; Piezoelectric; Projectile; Projectile Fins; Piezoelectrics; Smart Fins; Theoretical

Controlled Subject

Mechanical engineering

File Format


File Size

3256.32 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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