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Nonlinear L1 adaptive control of stagnation pressure in a cryogenic wind tunnel


Cryogenic wind tunnel is a sophisticated aerodynamics ground test facility, which operates in cryogenic temperature with injection of liquid nitrogen. The multi-variable, nonlinear and coupled dynamics existing between the temperature, pressure and Mach number in the tunnel, poses great challenges for the effective control of the tunnel. L1 adaptive control is a new control methodology developed in recent years with good robustness properties, which has good potentials to address these challenges. But this control method does not provide full adaptive feedforward control in its generic structure. In the paper, adaptive feedforward control action is introduced into the standard L1 adaptive control architecture for nonlinear systems in the presence of matched un-modeled dynamics. This new control structure is applied to the stagnation pressure control in a cryogenic wind tunnel, which could also be used for the control of temperature and Mach number in the tunnel. This new method could effectively compensate known disturbances with linear gain uncertainty, which occur in the nonlinear systems, while retaining the closed-loop control performance of L1 adaptive control. After the proof and discussions on the stability of this method, simulations of the stagnation pressure control in the wind tunnel are presented. The results and analysis demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed control architecture.

1 Introduction

Cryogenic wind tunnel is a sophisticated aerodynamics ground test facility which can provide real flight Reynolds number by operating the wind tunnel in cryogenic temperature with the injection of liquid nitrogen into tunnel circuit [1]. Reynolds number is increased in cryogenic wind tunnel due to the increased gas density and decreased viscosity of the gas at cryogenic temperatures [2]. In contrast with conventional wind tunnels, cryogenic wind tunnel has three main flow parameters, pressure, temperature and Mach number, which should be regulated accurately to obtain high quality flow-field. Due to the interactions between the three variables and their respective control inputs, there exists a multi-variable, nonlinear and coupled dynamics for the three flow states [3]. Thus, a finely designed controller with reasonable robustness and good performance should be deployed in the automatic control of cryogenic wind tunnel to guarantee its smooth operations. At present, some cryogenic wind tunnels with high Reynolds number capabilities have been built in some well-known research institutes in the world, such as the DNW-Kryo-Kanal Köln cryogenic wind tunnel in Köln Germany, 0.3-m Transonic Cryogenic Tunnel (TCT) and the National Transonic Facility (NTF) at NASA in the US, the European Transonic Wind tunnel (ETW) in Germany [4, 5] .

Because of the complex nature of cryogenic wind tunnel dynamics, some studies and researches on the development of control methodology for the tunnel had been carried out from the start of the concept of cryogenic wind tunnel decades ago, mainly concerning the modeling and control of the cryogenic wind tunnel process [6, 7]. Most of the research have been conducted at the TCT, NTF of NASA Langley and ETW in Europe. A nonlinear gain scheduled PI controller with feedforward control was deployed in NTF in its early stages of operation [2]. A control algorithm with self-learning capabilities was designed and implemented in ETW [4]. Since then, some updates and re-innovation of the control system have been reported in recent years [8], while without much details.

The purpose of this paper is to deploy a new adaptive control method with guaranteed transient performance, L1 adaptive control [9], to implement the control of cryogenic wind tunnel. Deploying adaptive control in cryogenic wind tunnel has many advantages over using traditional control methods in the tunnel. The main advantage is that it could equip the control system with some self-learning capabilities and would find proper control parameters automatically to achieve desired control performance under uncertainties in the system or model inaccuracies of the tunnel. This would reduce a lot of tuning efforts, time and resources consumptions when the tunnel is in commissioning phase. Rather than considering the control of all three parameters, this paper mainly considers the stagnation pressure control in cryogenic wind tunnel.

Adaptive control was first proposed to address the problem of autopilots in flight control in the mid-1950s [10]. The early development of adaptive control was dominated by experiments, advances made in stability theory later inspired development of the theory for adaptive systems [11]. After that, the interest in adaptive flight control produced many researches on adaptive control in industry and academia. More vibrant researches on adaptive control for aerospace applications appeared at the turn of the century. The driving forces were requirements for reconfiguration and damage control and the desire to simplify extensive and costly verification and validation procedures in flying vehicle development [12, 13]. L1 adaptive control is one of these results in recent years, a newly developed adaptive control methodology mainly contributed by Hovakimyan and Cao [14,15,16,17]. This new adaptive control has some distinguishing features compared with conventional adaptive controls, such as Model Reference Adaptive Control (MRAC). It can be viewed as a modified model reference adaptive control scheme, in which the basic architecture is based on internal model principle [9].

The key feature of L1 adaptive control architectures is the guaranteed robustness in the presence of fast adaptation. In this adaptive architecture, the uncertainties in feedback loop can be compensated only within the bandwidth of a filter in its structure [9]. This leads to separation between adaptation and robustness in the adaptive law, and then desired and guaranteed transient performance for the closed-loop systems can be achieved. Details of the theory can be found in [9] and related papers on this issue.

However, the standard L1 adaptive control doesn’t provide full adaptive feedforward control capacity for known disturbances in systems due to the existence of low-pass filter in its control law. Because in normal cases, it is impossible for a control signal coming out of low-pass filter to completely compensate the known disturbances in system. The generic L1 adaptive control can compensate some un-modeled or unknown disturbances under specific assumptions about the system [9].

This paper mainly introduces adaptive feedforward control into the standard L1 adaptive control for nonlinear system to provide full compensation for known disturbances with linear gain uncertainty. The adaptive feedforward control is based on conventional adaptive scheme, while it is fully integrated into the L1 adaptive control structure. Then this new control structure is applied in the stagnation pressure control of a cryogenic wind tunnel.

This paper is organized as follows. Section 2 gives a brief introduction to the facility and the stagnation pressure dynamics of the tunnel. Section 3 presents problem formulation for the L1 adaptive control with feedforward control action, and illustrates the controller design and its stability discussion. Section 4 introduces controller design for the stagnation pressure, simulation results and some experimental results, while Section 5 concludes the paper.

2 Dynamic model of cryogenic wind tunnel

2.1 Facility description

The facility considered in this paper is a closed-circuit, pressurized, outer thermal-insulated small cryogenic wind tunnel, mainly used for some researches related to aerodynamics in cryogenic temperature. The schematic diagram is shown in Fig. 1.

Fig. 1
figure 1

Schematic of the cryogenic wind tunnel

A compressor driven by an electrical motor moves nitrogen gas around the circuit. When in operation, the liquid nitrogen (LN2) is injected into the tunnel at the upstream of the compressor and mixed with the gas inside the tunnel. The mass volume of liquid nitrogen injected into the wind tunnel is regulated by LN2 control valve. The gas nitrogen (GN2) inside the tunnel is extracted to the GN2 exhaust system by the pressure control valve, which is located at upstream of the stilling chamber. The stagnation (total) pressure is measured at the stilling chamber before test section. The main operation parameters, total pressure, total temperature and Mach number in test section, need to be controlled precisely within the whole operation envelop. The operation range is, 110 K to 300 K for total temperature, 1.15 to 4.5 atm for total pressure, and 0.15 to 1.2 for Mach number respectively.

Normally, the operation of cryogenic wind tunnel starts with a cooling down process with decreasing rate constraint from ambient temperature. After the temperature set point is reached, quick changes of test section states will be carried out for the test. When the test is finished, a tunnel warming process with rising rate limitation will occur before the end of entire operation.

2.2 Dynamic model of the cryogenic wind tunnel

The modeling of the tunnel dynamics in this paper mainly follows the study in reference [2], and the dynamics will be briefed here.

The main state dynamics is given as

$$ \dot{P_t}=\frac{P_t}{T_t}\dot{T_t}+\frac{P_t}{W_g}\left({m}_L\left(t-{\tau}_1\right)-{m}_g\left(t-{\tau}_2\right)\ \right) $$
$$ \dot{T_t}=\frac{m_L\left(t-{\tau}_3\right)}{W_g{C}_V}\ \left({h}_L-{C}_V{T}_t\right)+\frac{P_{compressor}\left(t-{\tau}_4\right)}{W_g{C}_V}-\frac{W_m{C}_m}{W_g{C}_V}\ \frac{\left({T}_t-{T}_m\right)}{t_m} $$
$$ \dot{Ma}=\left(\ \frac{N_f}{\ {P_t}^{-0.035}\sqrt{T_t}}-{k}_1\right)/\left({k}_2\ {t}_a\right)-\frac{Ma}{t_a} $$

where Pt, TtMa are stagnation pressure, stagnation temperature and Mach number respectively. In (1), Wg is gas mass in the tunnel, mL is the liquid nitrogen injection mass flow rate, and mg is the gas nitrogen mass flow blown off from the tunnel. \( \dot{T_t} \) is the change rate of temperature Tt. τ1, τ2, τ3 and τ4 are time delays corresponding to each input. (1) is the governing dynamic equation for stagnation pressure in cryogenic wind tunnel. It shows that the stagnation pressure changes are mainly dictated by the blown off mass flow mg and liquid nitrogen injection mass flow mL. Equations (2) and (3) denote the stagnation temperature and Mach number dynamics, where CV is specific heat at constant volume (kJ/kg. K), Cm is specific heat of metal tunnel wall (kJ/kg. K), hL is heat of the vaporization of liquid nitrogen (kJ/kg), Pcompressor is power consumed by the compressor, Wm is mass of metal wind tunnel wall (kg), Tm is metal tunnel wall temperatures (K), Nf is compressor speed (RPM), k1 and k2 are constants specific to the facility, and ta is plenum time constant of the tunnel (s). The detailed meanings of (2) and (3) for stagnation temperature and Mach number dynamics can be found in reference [2], and will be omitted here.

These equations of dynamics clearly show that there is obvious coupled and nonlinear behavior of the cryogenic wind tunnel process.

3 Nonlinear L 1 adaptive control with adaptive feedforward control

3.1 Problem formulation

Consider a nonlinear (and time-varying) dynamical system described by equations,

$$ \dot{x}(t)={A}_m(t)x(t)+b(t)\left(\mu (t)+f\left(t,x(t),z(t)\right)+{u}_F(t)\right) $$
$$ x(0)={x}_0 $$
$$ y(t)={c}^Tx(t) $$
$$ {\dot{x}}_z(t)=g\left(t,{x}_z(t),x(t)\right),{x}_z(0)={x}_{z0} $$
$$ z(t)={g}_0\left(t,{x}_z(t)\right),{x}_z(0)={x}_{z0} $$

where x(t) Rn is the system state and measurable, Am(t) Rn × n and b(t) Rn are known matrix and control gain vector respectively. (Note: A known Am(t) represents the desired controlled closed-loop system behavior. This will not pose a problem in describing a real system where there may exist many uncertainties. Because for some systems, these uncertainties could be counted by partially known or unknown terms like f(t, x(t), z(t)), z(t) and xz(t) in (4).) cRn is a known constant vector and y(t) R is the system output. The f : R × Rn × Rl → R is an unknown nonlinear map representing the matched nonlinear uncertainties. xz(t) Rm and z(t) Rl are the state and output of the un-modeled dynamics. g : R × Rm × Rn → Rm, g0 : R × Rm → Rl are unknown nonlinear maps. uF(t) R is the known or measurable disturbance in the input channel. μ(t) R is the output of system:

$$ \mu (s)=F(s)u(s) $$

where u(t) R (for u(s)) is the control signal, and F(s) is an unknown BIBO-stable and proper transfer function with known sign of its DC gain. Normally the F(s) is used to represent the actuator dynamics in system, which cannot be exactly known. The initial condition x0 is assumed to be inside a known set, x0 < ρ0 < ∞, with known ρ0 > 0. In addition, let’s define X [xT, zT]T.

Remark 1 The main difference between (4) and the standard form of (5.25) in section 5.2 of reference [9], lies in the extra known disturbance term uF(t) in (4). This is used to represent known disturbance in the control input channel. An adaptive feedforward control scheme is designed later to cancel this known disturbance. The L1 adaptive controller acts as the feedback part of the whole control law to stabilize the system (4) with desired closed-loop system response.

For the problem to be properly addressed, the following assumptions are imposed for the system (4). Most of the assumptions follow that in [9].

Assumption 1 (Uniform Asymptotic Stability of Desired System) The matrix Am(t) is continuously differentiable. For t ≥ 0, Am(t) ≤ μ1, \( {\left\Vert {\dot{A}}_m(t)\right\Vert}_{\infty}\le {\mathrm{d}}_A \), and Re[λi(Am(t))] ≤  − μ2 i = 1, …, n, where μ1, μ2 and dA are positive constants, and λi(Am(t)) is a pointwise eigenvalue of Am(t). Further, for all t ≥ 0, the equilibrium of the state equation

$$ \dot{x}(t)={A}_m(t)x(t)\ x\left({t}_0\right)={x}_0 $$

is exponentially stable, and the solution of

$$ {A_m}^T(t)P(t)+P(t){A}_m(t)=I $$

satisfies \( {\left\Vert \dot{P}(t)\right\Vert}_{\infty }<1 \).

Assumption 2 (Uniform boundedness of b(t) and its derivative) There exist positive constants μb, db > 0, such that b(t) < μb, \( \left\Vert \dot{\boldsymbol{b}}\left(\boldsymbol{t}\right)\right\Vert <{\mathrm{d}}_b \).

Assumption 3 The pair (Am(t), b(t)) is strongly controllable.

Assumption 4 (Uniform boundedness of f(t, 0, 0)) There exists B > 0, such that |f(t, 0, 0)| < B holds for all t ≥ 0.

Assumption 5 (Semi-global uniform boundedness of partial derivatives) For arbitrary δ > 0, there exist positive constants dfx(δ) > 0 and dft(δ) > 0 independent of time, such that for all X < δ, the partial derivatives of f(t, x, z) are piecewise-continuous and bounded,

$$ {\left\Vert \frac{\partial f\left(t,x,z\right)}{\partial \left(x,z\right)}\right\Vert}_1\le {d}_{fx}\left(\delta \right)\ \left|\frac{\partial f\left(t,x,z\right)}{\partial t}\right|\le {d}_{ft}\left(\delta \right) $$

Assumption 6 (Stability of un-modeled dynamics) The xz dynamics are BIBO stable with respect to both initial conditions xz0 and input x(t), there exist C1, C2 > 0 such that for all t ≥ 0

$$ {\left\Vert {z}_t\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}\le {C}_1{\left\Vert {x}_t\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}+{C}_2 $$

Assumption 7 (Partial knowledge of actuator dynamics) There exists CF > 0 verifying \( {\left\Vert F(s)\right\Vert}_{L_1}<{C}_F \). Also, it is assumed that there exist known constants ωl, ωu R satisfying

$$ 0<{\omega}_l\le F(0)\le {\omega}_u $$

where, without loss of generality, it is assumed F(0) > 0.

Assumption 8 (Boundedness of u(t) and uF(t)) The control signal u(t) and known disturbance uF(t) are continuous, and moreover, there exist positive constants ρ, ρu, \( {\rho}_{\dot{u}} \), \( {\rho}_{u_F} \), \( {\rho}_{{\dot{u}}_F} \), the following bounds hold

$$ {\left\Vert {x}_{\tau}\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}\le \rho, $$
$$ {\left\Vert {u}_{\tau}\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}\le {\rho}_u,{\left\Vert {\dot{u}}_{\tau}\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}\le {\rho}_{\dot{u}} $$
$$ {\left\Vert {u}_{F\tau}\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}\le {\rho}_{u_F},{\left\Vert {\dot{u}}_{F\tau}\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}\le {\rho}_{{\dot{u}}_F} $$

3.2 Nonlinear L 1 adaptive control architecture with feedforward control action

Controller design The controller design for nonlinear system (4) follows the main L1 adaptive control structure presented in section 5.2 of reference [9]. However, because of the existence of known disturbance uF(t) in (4), the control signal is expressed as

$$ u(t)={u}_{ff}(t)+{u}_{fd}(t) $$

where uff(t) is the feedforward control signal to cancel the disturbance uF(t) in (4), and ufd(t) is the feedback control signal provided by the L1 adaptive control loop. Although the control signal uff(t) is different from the ufd(t), it is still derived from the framework of L1 adaptive control, which will be introduced in the following. This new L1 adaptive control structure with feedforward control loop is shown in Fig. 2, where the parts in the dashed line box are the standard L1 adaptive control loop.

Fig. 2
figure 2

Block diagram of the structure of L1 adaptive control with feedforward control loop

State predictor

The state predictor is given as

$$ \dot{\hat{x}}(t)={A}_m\hat{x}(t)+b(t)\left({\hat{\omega}}_F(t){u}_F(t)+{u}_{ff}(t)+{\hat{\omega}}_{pv}(t){u}_{fd}(t)+\hat{\theta}(t){\left\Vert {x}_t\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}+\hat{\sigma}(t)\right) $$
$$ \hat{x}(0)={x}_0 $$
$$ \hat{y}(t)={c}^T\hat{x}(t) $$

where \( \hat{x}(t)\in {R}^n \) is the predictor state, and \( {\hat{\omega}}_{pv} \) is the estimate for control gain uncertainty, which could cover the gain uncertainty in the control input channel and unknown actuator dynamics. \( {\hat{\omega}}_F \) is the estimate for feedforward control gain uncertainty. \( \hat{\theta}(t) \) is the main parameter estimate for the nonlinearity in the system, and the estimate of \( \hat{\sigma}(t) \) could represent some un-modeled dynamics and disturbance in the system.

Remark 2 The two terms \( {\hat{\omega}}_F(t){u}_F(t) \) and uff(t) in (8), which are absent in the standard form of state predictor in [9], are used to form the adaptive law and control law for the disturbance signal uF(t) in the system (4).

Adaptation Laws

The adaptation laws are given as

$$ {\dot{\hat{\omega}}}_{pv}(t)=\varGamma Proj\left({\hat{\omega}}_{pv}(t),-{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){u}_{fd}(t)\right)\kern2.25em {\hat{\omega}}_{pv}(0)={\hat{\omega}}_{pv0} $$
$$ {\dot{\hat{\omega}}}_F(t)={\varGamma}_F Proj\left({\hat{\omega}}_F(t),-{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){u}_F(t)\right)\kern2.15em {\hat{\omega}}_F(0)={\hat{\omega}}_{F0} $$
$$ \dot{\hat{\theta}}(t)=\varGamma Proj\left(\hat{\theta}(t),-{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){\left\Vert {x}_t\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}\right)\kern3.15em \hat{\theta}(0)={\hat{\theta}}_0 $$
$$ \dot{\hat{\sigma}}(t)=\varGamma Proj\left(\hat{\sigma}(t),-{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t)\right)\kern6.30em \hat{\sigma}(0)={\hat{\sigma}}_0 $$

where \( \overset{\sim }{x}(t)=\hat{x}(t)-x(t) \) is the prediction error, Γ is the adaptation gain for the L1 adaptive control loop, and ΓF is the adaptation gain for the \( {\hat{\omega}}_F \). P(t) is defined in assumption 1. The projection operator Proj() ensures that all estimates of these parameters are bounded.

Remark 3 The feedforward gain estimation \( {\hat{\omega}}_F \) is used as the feedforward control gain in uff(t) in (7) due to the control gain uncertainty of ωpv. For the system here, there should be ωF = ωpv. But for the convenience of design, an over-parameterization strategy is used. A separate different ωF is used to represent the gain uncertainty of the disturbance uF(t). In addition, the adaptive law for \( {\hat{\omega}}_F(t) \) is independent, and not a part of the standard L1 adaptive law, thus the adaptive gain ΓF is different from the Γ of L1 adaptive law.

Control Law

As stated in (7), the control law consists two components

$$ u(t)={u}_{ff}(t)+{u}_{fd}(t) $$
$$ {u}_{ff}(t)=-{\hat{\omega}}_F(t){u}_F(t) $$
$$ {u}_{fd}(s)=- kD(s)\left(\hat{\eta}(s)-{r}_g(s)\right) $$

where the rg(s) and \( \hat{\eta}(s) \) are the Laplace transforms of rg(t) = kg(t)r(t) and \( \hat{\eta}(t)={\hat{\omega}}_{pv}(t){u}_{fd}(t)+\hat{\theta}(t){\left\Vert {x}_t\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}+\hat{\sigma}(t) \) respectively, while kg(t) =  − 1/(cTAm−1(t)b(t)) is the feedforward gain required for tracking the reference signal r(t). k > 0 in (10) is the positive feedback gain in the filtering structure, and D(s) is a strictly proper stable transfer function, which would lead to a strictly proper stable filter

$$ C(s)=\frac{kF(s)D(s)}{1+ kF(s)D(s)} $$

with DC gain C(0) = 1.

Remark 4 Because the uF(t) should be compensated by the feedforward control signal uff(t) in real-time, thus, the control signal uff(t) can not pass through a filter like that in the feedback control law ufd(t). Otherwise, the adaptive law for \( {\hat{\omega}}_F \) in (9) cannot guarantee the stability of the control law in (10).

The feedback control law ufd(t) is realized by a recursive structure, which is shown in Fig. 3.

Fig. 3
figure 3

Structure of the recursive feedback control law

Remark 5 The equations (8)~(10) constitute the nonlinear L1 adaptive controller with feedforward control action for the system (4), subjected to a L1 norm condition defined in the section 5.2.2 in [9]. The main difference of the controller from the standard L1 adaptive control law for nonlinear system lies in the extra adaptive feedforward part in (8) ~ (10). The stability analysis and some proof are introduced next.

3.3 Stability analysis of the control law

3.3.1 Equivalent linear time-varying system for nonlinear dynamics

According to the study in section 5.2 in reference [9], the original nonlinear system (4) with un-modeled dynamics can be transformed into an equivalent (semi-) linear time-varying system with unknown time-varying parameters and disturbances under the assumptions on the signals of the system in part 3.1 of this section.

From the system (4) and the bounds in (6), it follows that \( {\left\Vert {\dot{x}}_{\tau}\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }} \) is bounded for all τ [0, ∞).

According to the Lemma A.9.1 in [9], there exist continuous θ(t) and σ1(t) with (piecewise)-continuous derivatives, defined over t  [0, τ] such that

$$ \left|\theta (t)\right|<{L}_{\rho },\left|\dot{\theta}(t)\right|<{d}_{\theta } $$
$$ \left|{\sigma}_1(t)\right|<{\Delta }_1,\left|\dot{\sigma_1}(t)\right|<{d}_{\sigma_1} $$

where \( {L}_{\rho },{\Delta }_1,{d}_{\theta },{d}_{\sigma_1}>0 \). Then the nonlinear function f(t, x(t), z(t)) in (1) can be expressed as

$$ f\left(t,x(t),z(t)\right)=\hat{\theta}(t){\left\Vert {x}_t\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}+{\sigma}_1(t). $$

Using the assumption 8 and the lemma A.10.1 in [9], the signal μ(t) in (4) can be rewritten as

$$ \mu (t)={\omega}_{pv}u(t)+{\sigma}_2(t) $$

where ωpv (ωl, ωu) is an unknown constant and σ2(t) is a continuous signal with (piecewise)-continuous derivative, defined over t  [0, τ], such that

$$ \left|{\sigma}_2(t)\right|<{\Delta }_2,\left|\dot{\sigma_2}(t)\right|<{d}_{\sigma_2} $$

where \( {\Delta }_2,{d}_{\sigma_2}>0 \).

Then the system (4) can be rewritten over t  [0, τ] as

$$ \dot{x}(t)={A}_m(t)x(t)+b(t)\left({\hat{\omega}}_F(t){u}_F(t)+{u}_{ff}(t)+{\omega}_{pv}{u}_{fd}(t)+\theta (t){\left\Vert {x}_t\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}+\sigma (t)\right)x(0)={x}_0 $$
$$ y(t)={c}^Tx(t) $$

where \( \hat{\sigma}(t)={\sigma}_1(t)+{\sigma}_2(t) \) is the unknown signal subject to |σ(t)| < , \( \left|\dot{\sigma}(t)\right|<{d}_{\sigma } \), with  = 1 + 2 and \( {d}_{\sigma }={d}_{\sigma_1}+{d}_{\sigma_2} \). Additionally, ωF ΩF = (ωFl, ωFu), ωpv Ωpv = (ωl, ωu), θ(t)  Θ, where 0 < ωFl < ωFu, 0 < ωl < ωu are known upper and lower bounds, Θ is a known convex compact set, and R+ is a known (conservative) bound of σ(t).

Remark 6 \( {\hat{\omega}}_F(t) \) in (11) is introduced by the feedforward gain uncertainty of uff(t) due to the control gain uncertainty of the system. However, for convenience of the control law derivation process, the feedforward gain uncertainty \( {\hat{\omega}}_F(t) \) is placed with uF(t), instead of uff(t) in (11). The equations in state predictor of (8) follow the form of the equivalent equations (11) for the original system (4).

3.3.2 Transient and steady-state performance

With the system dynamics as (11), the error dynamics between the state predictor (8) and the system is given by

$$ \dot{\overset{\sim }{x}}(t)={A}_m\overset{\sim }{x}(t)+b(t)\left({\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_F(t){u}_F(t)+{\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_{pv}(t){u}_{fd}(t)+\overset{\sim }{\theta }(t){\left\Vert {P}_t\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}+\overset{\sim }{\sigma }(t)\right)\ \overset{\sim }{x}(0)=0 $$

where \( \overset{\sim }{x}(t)=\hat{x}(t)-x(t) \), \( {\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_F={\hat{\omega}}_F-{\omega}_F \), \( {\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_{pv}={\hat{\omega}}_{pv}(t)-{\omega}_{pv} \), \( \overset{\sim }{\theta }(t)=\hat{\theta}(t)-\theta (t) \), and \( \overset{\sim }{\sigma }(t)=\hat{\sigma}(t)-\sigma (t) \). Then, for the transient performance of the control law, we have a lemma similar to the lemma 5.2.2 in [9], but with the additional bounded term related to the signal uF(t).

Lemma 1 For the system (8) and the controller defined by equations (8) ~ (10), with the assumptions 1 to 8 in part 3.1 of this section verified, then

$$ {\left\Vert {\overset{\sim }{x}}_{\tau}\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}\le \sqrt{\frac{\theta_m\left(\rho, {\rho}_u,{\rho}_{\dot{u}},{\rho}_{u_F},{\rho}_{{\dot{u}}_F}\right)}{\lambda_{min}(P)\Gamma}}+\sqrt{\frac{k_m{\left({\omega}_{Fu}-{\omega}_{Fl}\right)}^2}{\lambda_{min}(P){\Gamma}_F}} $$

where \( {\theta}_m\left(\rho, {\rho}_u,{\rho}_{\dot{u}},{\rho}_{u_F},{\rho}_{{\dot{u}}_F}\right)={\left({\omega}_u-{\omega}_l\right)}^2+4{L_{\rho}}^2+4{\Delta}^2+4\frac{\lambda_{max}(P)}{1-{\epsilon}_P}\left({L}_{\rho }{d}_{\theta }+\Delta {d}_{\sigma}\right) \), and 0 ≤ ϵP < 1, λmin(P) and λmax(P) are the minimum and maximum eigenvalue of matrix P(t) respectively. km is a specific positive constant.

Proof: Consider the following Lyapunov function candidate

$$ V\left(\overset{\sim }{x},{\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_F,{\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_{pv},\overset{\sim }{\theta },\overset{\sim }{\sigma}\right)={\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)\overset{\sim }{x}(t)+\frac{1}{\Gamma_F}{{\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_F}^2(t)+\frac{1}{\Gamma}\left({{\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_{pv}}^2(t)+{\overset{\sim }{\theta}}^2(t)+{\overset{\sim }{\sigma}}^2(t)\right) $$

Using the adaptation laws in (9), the derivative of the Lyapunov function candidate V along the trajectory of the system (12) is computed as

$$ \dot{V}\left(\overset{\sim }{x},{\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_F,{\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_{pv},\overset{\sim }{\theta },\overset{\sim }{\sigma}\right)={\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)\left(P{A}_m+{A_m}^TP+\dot{P}(t)\right)\overset{\sim }{x}(t)+2{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_F(t){u}_F(t) $$

\( +2{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_{pv}{u}_{fd}(t)+2{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t)\overset{\sim }{\theta }(t){\left\Vert {x}_t\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}+2{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t)\overset{\sim }{\sigma }(t) \)

$$ +\frac{2}{\Gamma_F}{\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_F(t){\dot{\hat{\omega}}}_F(t)+\frac{2}{\Gamma}\left({\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_{pv}(t){\dot{\hat{\omega}}}_{pv}(t)+\overset{\sim }{\theta }(t)\dot{\hat{\theta}}(t)+\overset{\sim }{\sigma }(t)\dot{\hat{\sigma}}(t)\right)-\frac{2}{\Gamma}\left(\overset{\sim }{\theta }(t)\dot{\theta}(t)+\overset{\sim }{\sigma }(t)\dot{\sigma}(t)\right) $$
$$ =-{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)\left(1-\dot{P}(t)\right)\overset{\sim }{x}(t)-\frac{2}{\Gamma}\left(\overset{\sim }{\theta }(t)\dot{\theta}(t)+\overset{\sim }{\sigma }(t)\dot{\sigma}(t)\right) $$
$$ +2{\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_F(t)\left(-{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){u}_F(t)+\frac{1}{\Gamma_F}{\dot{\hat{\omega}}}_F(t)\right) $$
$$ +2{\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_{pv}(t)\left({\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){u}_{fd}(t)+\frac{1}{\Gamma}{\dot{\hat{\omega}}}_{pv}(t)\right) $$
$$ +2\overset{\sim }{\theta }(t)\left({\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){\left\Vert {x}_t\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}+\frac{1}{\Gamma}\dot{\hat{\theta}}(t)\right)+2\overset{\sim }{\sigma }(t)\left({\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t)+\frac{1}{\Gamma}\dot{\hat{\sigma}}(t)\right) $$
$$ =-{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)\left(1-\dot{P}(t)\right)\overset{\sim }{x}(t)-\frac{2}{\Gamma}\left(\overset{\sim }{\theta }(t)\dot{\theta}(t)+\overset{\sim }{\sigma }(t)\dot{\sigma}(t)\right) $$
$$ +2{\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_F(t)\left(-{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){u}_F(t)+ Proj\left({\hat{\omega}}_F(t),{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){u}_F(t)\right)\right) $$
$$ +2{\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_{pv}(t)\left({\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){u}_{fd}(t)+ Proj\left({\hat{\omega}}_{pv}(t),-{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){u}_{fd}(t)\right)\right) $$
$$ +2\overset{\sim }{\theta }(t)\left({\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){\left\Vert {x}_t\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}+ Proj\left(\hat{\theta}(t),-{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){\left\Vert {x}_t\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}\right)\right) $$
$$ +2\overset{\sim }{\sigma }(t)\left({\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t)+ Proj\left(\hat{\sigma}(t),-{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t)\right)\right) $$

Using the property of the operator Proj() [9, 18], there exist

$$ {\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_F(t)\left(-{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){u}_F(t)+ Proj\left({\hat{\omega}}_F(t),{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){u}_F(t)\right)\right)\le 0 $$
$$ {\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_{pv}(t)\left({\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){u}_{fd}(t)+ Proj\left({\hat{\omega}}_{pv}(t),-{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){u}_{fd}(t)\right)\right)\le 0 $$
$$ \overset{\sim }{\theta }(t)\left({\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){\left\Vert {x}_t\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}+ Proj\left(\hat{\theta}(t),-{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t){\left\Vert {x}_t\right\Vert}_{L_{\infty }}\right)\right)\le 0 $$
$$ \overset{\sim }{\sigma }(t)\left({\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t)+ Proj\left(\hat{\sigma}(t),-{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)P(t)b(t)\right)\right)\le 0 $$

Then we have

$$ \dot{V}\left(\overset{\sim }{x},{\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_F,{\overset{\sim }{\omega}}_{pv},\overset{\sim }{\theta },\overset{\sim }{\sigma}\right)\le -{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)\left(1-\dot{P}(t)\right)\overset{\sim }{x}(t)-\frac{2}{\Gamma}\left(\overset{\sim }{\theta }(t)\dot{\theta}(t)+\overset{\sim }{\sigma }(t)\dot{\sigma}(t)\right) $$
$$ \le -{\overset{\sim }{x}}^T(t)\left(1-\dot{P}(t)\right)\overset{\sim }{x}(t)+\frac{2}{\Gamma}\left|\overset{\sim }{\theta }(t)\dot{\theta}(t)+\overset{\sim }{\sigma }(t)\dot{\sigma}(t)\right| $$

According to assumption 8,

$$ \frac{2}{\Gamma}\left|\overset{\sim }{\theta }(t)\dot{\theta}(t)+\overset{\sim }{\sigma }(t)\dot{\sigma}(t)\right|\le \frac{4}{\Gamma}\left({L}_{\rho }{d}_{\theta }+\Delta {d}_{\sigma}\right) $$

which is bounded. Then according to the theorem 4.18 in [19], the error dynamics (12) is bounded as well, and the bound can be reduced by increasing the adaptive gain Γ and ΓF.

Then follow the similar argument and proving process for lemma 5.2.2 in [9], the bound in (13) is proved.

Remark 7 In contrast to the bound of (5.49) in [9], the bound of (13) is not only related to the term of θm( ), but also related to the uncertainty of ωF. Because the feedforward control signal uff(t) can’t pass through a low-pass filter like it does in the L1 adaptive control, the adaptive feedforward gain ΓF can not be increased to large value due to the possible presence of noise or un-modeled high frequency dynamics in system. Otherwise, the increased adaptation gain ΓF will cause parameter drift or instability in system. Thus, the transient performance of the control law (8) ~ (10) will be influenced obviously by the known disturbance and its feedforward gain uncertainty.

The lemma 1 guarantees the boundedness of system states under the control law. However, the analysis for the performance bounds of the control law is a little bit complicated. If there is no disturbance uF(t) = 0, or the known disturbance uF(t) could be canceled perfectly by the control signal uff(t) =  − ωFuF(t), then the closed-loop error dynamics would be the same as that without the disturbance uF(t) like the (5.48) in [9]. Thus the closed-loop system under the control law would have the same performance bounds as the theorem 5.2.1 in [9].

If the known disturbance uF(t) would not be canceled perfectly by the control signal uff(t), there are another two cases. 1). If the un-canceled part of the known disturbance uF(t) can be regarded as unknown disturbance, and become part of the σ(t) satisfying the assumption on the σ(t) in (11), then the control performance bound as that in theorem 5.2.1 in [9] could still be retained. 2). If the un-canceled part of the known disturbance uF(t) could not be treated as part of the unknown disturbance σ(t), but still verify the assumption in (6), the control law would guarantee the bounded state response as stated in lemma 1.

Of course, the steady performance could not be arbitrarily improved by the increased adaptive gain ΓF as stated in theorem 5.2.1 in [9] due to the presence of disturbance uF(t). This is natural for a control system in practice. However, in cases when the disturbance uF(t) and its change rate \( {\dot{u}}_F(t) \) are relatively small and can be regarded as part of the unknown disturbance σ(t), the steady-state control performance can be still guaranteed by the control law, even if the known disturbance uF(t) could not be canceled perfectly by the adaptive feedforward control signal uff(t).

4 The stagnation pressure control in cryogenic wind tunnel

4.1 Stagnation pressure dynamics with actuator dynamics and mathematical treatment

For the design of control law for stagnation pressure, only stagnation pressure dynamics (1) will be considered here. In order to make the controller design to be more realistic in practice, the dynamics of actuator (pressure control valve) will be included here. According to the studies in reference [2, 20, 21], the stagnation pressure dynamics is expressed as,

$$ \dot{P_t}=\frac{P_t}{T_t}\dot{T_t}+\frac{P_t}{W_g}\left({m}_L\left(t-{\tau}_1\right)-{m}_g\left(t-{\tau}_2\right)\ \right) $$
$$ {m}_g=\frac{k_{pv}}{\sqrt{T_t}}\left(\frac{P_t-{P}_0}{P_0}\right)\ \mu (t) $$
$$ \mu (s)=F(s)u(s) $$

where Pt is the stagnation pressure, Tt is the stagnation temperature, and Wg is the gas mass inside of the wind tunnel, which can be computed from the states of the tunnel. mL is the liquid nitrogen injection mass flow rate due to the temperature control, which is measurable. mg is the gas nitrogen mass flow rate extracted by the pressure control valve. kpv > 0 is a positive constant for the specific pressure control valve. P0 is the pressure of atmosphere. μ(t) is the opening of the pressure control valve, u(t) is the control signal and F(s) is the partially known actuator dynamics for the pressure control valve. τ1 and τ2 are the input delays, which are quite small for pressure control in practice. Thus, the delays can be disregarded in the pressure controller design.

For the convenience of controller design, the term mL in (14) can be transformed into an equivalent negative gas mass extracted −mg, and can be further transformed into equivalent negative pressure valve opening −μF(t) according to the relationship for mg and μ(t) in (14).

However, the pressure valve constant kpv in (14) is hard to be obtained precisely in practice. But it is not difficult to get the bound of kpv for a specific application. Thus, an additional unknown constant or slow time-varying gain factor ωpv is considered in the pressure dynamics to represent the gain uncertainty. Then, the stagnation pressure dynamics with the uncertainty can be rewritten as,

$$ \dot{P_t}=\frac{P_t}{W_g}\left({\omega}_F\frac{k_{pv}}{\sqrt{T_t}}\left(\frac{P_t-{P}_0}{P_0}\right)\left(-{\mu}_F(t)\right)-{\omega}_{pv}\frac{k_{pv}}{\sqrt{T_t}}\left(\frac{P_t-{P}_0}{P_0}\right)\ \mu (t)\ \right)+\frac{P_t}{T_t}\dot{T_t} $$
$$ \mu (s)=F(s)u(s) $$

where ωF is the gain uncertainty when transforming the mL into the equivalent negative pressure valve opening −μF(t). Here, an over-parameterization strategy is used. A different ωF from ωpv is used to represent the gain uncertainty of the transformation for mL.

Let define

$$ b(t)=\frac{P_t}{W_g}\frac{k_{pv}}{\sqrt{T_t}}\left(\frac{P_t-{P}_0}{P_0}\right) $$

and put the pressure control problem into the framework of L1 adaptive control like that in (4), the stagnation pressure dynamics (14) can be written as

\( \dot{P_t}={A}_m{P}_t(t)+b(t)\left({\omega}_F\left(-{\mu}_F(t)\right)+{\omega}_{pv}\mu (t)+f\left(t,{P}_t(t),\sigma (t)\right)\right)\ {P}_t(0)={P}_{t0} \)

$$ \mu (s)=F(s)u(s) $$

where Am is a constant representing the desired closed-loop response. Compared with (14), the extra term AmPt(t) can be counted against by the term f(t, Pt(t), σ(t)). The \( \frac{P_t}{T_t}\dot{T_t} \) is regarded as an unknown disturbance in f(t, Pt(t), σ(t)). The σ(t) can account other unknown disturbances in the system. Of course, the f(t, Pt(t), σ(t)) should satisfy the assumptions in section 3.

It is assumed that the bandwidth of the actuator is much higher than the bandwidth of disturbance, or considering F(s) = 1, then μF(t) = uF(t), and μ(t) = u(t). For this reason, the control signal is expressed as

$$ u(t)={u}_{ff}(t)+{u}_{fd}(t)={\hat{\omega}}_F{u}_F(t)+{u}_{fd}(t) $$

where \( {\hat{\omega}}_F \) is the estimate of ωF, uff(t) is the feedforward control signal to cancel the known disturbance caused by mL, ufd(t) is the feedback control signal provided by the L1 adaptive control loop.

4.2 Stagnation pressure controller design

The stagnation pressure controller can be designed according to the L1 adaptive controller defined in (8)~(10) in section 3. The parameters for the controller are set as the following. Am =  − 0.2, cT = 1, and P = 2.5. For an operation points of the wind tunnel, Pt = 200kPa, Tt = 150K, Ma = 0.5, kpv = 419.76, and b(t) = 1.12e5 × 2. \( D(s)=\frac{1}{s},\kern0.28em \mathrm{and}\kern0.28em \mathrm{k}=0.4 \). The kg(t) can be computed according to kg(t) =  − 1/(cTAm−1(t)b(t)). For the adaptation law, the following projection bounds are set. ΩF = [0.1,2], Ωpv = [0.1, 4], Θ = [−5, 5], and  = 10. The initial values for the estimates can be chosen from the sets above. Choose Γ and ΓF to verify ΓPb(t) = 1000, and ΓFPb(t) = 300.

For the actuator dynamics of the pressure control valve, it is expressed as

$$ \mu (s)=F(s)u(s),F(s)=\frac{1}{0.2s+1}{e}^{-0.1s} $$

In the simulations, the actuator dynamics has additional output saturation and rate limit. A Gaussian distributed measurement noise is added in the system output for all cases.

4.3 Simulation results

First, a stagnation pressure set-point change from 200 kPa to 150 kPa at Tt = 150K, and Ma = 0.5 of the wind tunnel is simulated. Figure 4 presents the results.

Fig. 4
figure 4

Stagnation pressure control from 200 kPa to 150 kPa

This figure shows the controller has good control performance in both transient and steady state. The tracking performance is satisfactory, and the trajectory of the total pressure can follow well the reference model associated with the state predictor (8). It is seen that the control signal is well within the rate limit of the actuator, and the actuator output can follow the control signal well.

The parameter estimates \( \hat{\theta}(t),\hat{\sigma}(t),\mathrm{and}\kern0.3em {\hat{\omega}}_{pv}(t) \) during the control process help achieve the desired system output response, even though these parameter estimates may not be close to their respective true values. Because there is no obvious presence of the disturbance uF(t), the parameter estimates for \( {\hat{\omega}}_F(t) \) do not have much significance and could be switched off in this case.

Next, the adaptive feedforward control for the known disturbance −μF(t) caused by the temperature control input mL is tested. Figure 5 shows the total pressure control when the temperature undergoes several step changes from 150 K to 110 K. The pressure set-point is 200 kPa.

Fig. 5
figure 5

Adaptive feedforward pressure control

This figure shows the pressure variation during the temperature step changes. With the adaptive feedforward control, the feedforward control loop would compensate the known disturbance induced by the liquid nitrogen mass injection during temperature control more and more properly and promptly, and the pressure deviation from the set-point are getting smaller. The controller signal shows the obvious feedforward control action. In the figure, the stagnation pressure Pt does not converge to its commanded value 200 kPa, and this is because that the disturbance is still presenting and changing. When the disturbance vanishes or becomes constant, the stagnation pressure Pt will settle down to its commanded value 200 kPa. Because the initial value of feedforward control gain \( {\hat{\omega}}_F(t) \) is set to zero from the start, thus, even there is an obvious disturbance presenting at this moment, it is reasonable that there is no obvious feedforward compensation action in the beginning. The control action at this time is produced mainly by the L1 adaptive feedback control loop. But with the improvement of the feedforward control gain \( {\hat{\omega}}_F(t) \) estimation, the feedforward compensation action will be more prompt as the disturbance emerges.

This figure also shows the temperature step changes and the corresponding liquid nitrogen mass injection, which acts as the disturbance to the pressure control. The computed equivalent disturbance for the liquid nitrogen injection is also showed in the figure. The adaptation process will make the estimation of \( {\hat{\omega}}_F(t) \) close to its true value starting from 0. Thus, improved known-disturbance rejection could be achieved in the process.

Figure 6 gives simulation of pressure step change control from 200 kPa to 150 kPa during temperature step change from 150 K to 140 K at Ma = 0.5 of the wind tunnel. The temperature controller output corresponds to the liquid nitrogen mass flow injection, which acts as the known disturbance to the pressure control. In this simulation, it is assumed that the feedforward control gain \( {\hat{\omega}}_F(t) \) estimation has been improved after proper adaptation process. The results show that the pressure controller could compensate the disturbance caused by temperature control in the pressure control process, and the controlled pressure response is similar to that in Fig. 4, which indicates the pressure control alone without obvious temperature changes. The disturbance rejection could be observed in the controller output in the figure. Thus, the stagnation pressure controller canceled the coupled effect caused by other variable control through the nonlinear L1 adaptive control with feedforward control action.

Fig. 6
figure 6

Pressure step change control during the temperature step change

5 Conclusion

By introducing an adaptive feedforward control loop to the standard L1 adaptive control structure, a nonlinear L1 adaptive controller with adaptive feedforward control action is proposed in this paper. After some stability analysis and discussion, it is shown that this new control method could effectively compensate known bounded disturbances with linear gain uncertainty, while retaining the basic feature of L1 adaptive control. The application in the stagnation pressure control in cryogenic wind tunnel and the simulation results have verified the effectiveness of this new control architecture. The proposed control approach, with the ability of canceling coupled effects in Multi-input & Multi-output control process, could be also used in the control for temperature and Mach number in cryogenic wind tunnel.

Availability of data and materials

Not applicable



Atmospheric pressure




Direct current (Here it mainly indicates the low frequency range near zero)

GN2 :

Gas nitrogen


Kelvin (Temperature unit)

L 1 :

L1 norm of signal in math

LN2 :

Liquid nitrogen



L :

L norm of signal in math


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RZ proposed the research idea, completed the research and wrote the main body of this article. MX helped implement the simulation and write this article. DL helped propose the research topic and revise this article. GT analyzed the simulation results and offered his view on the performance of the method in this article. WG analyzed part of the simulation results. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Rusong Zhu.

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Zhu, R., Xie, M., Liao, D. et al. Nonlinear L1 adaptive control of stagnation pressure in a cryogenic wind tunnel. Adv. Aerodyn. 2, 1 (2020).

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