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Research Topics

Listed below are the main research projects I have worked and I am currently working on.

Current Research Projects

 - under development - 


Past Research Projects 

Control Applications in Automotive Engineering

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) in November 2011 proposed new fuel efficiency standards. 

Fuel Efficiency GoalAs electric and plugin hybrid vehicles are slowly penetrating the market, internal combustion engines will remain the mainstay of mobility over the next 20 years.

As a result, automotive companies will have to rely heavily on engine technology improvements to meet their fuel economy, emissions and drivability goals.
The most relevant research topics I worked on for conventional powertrain vehicles are:
  • system optimization and control design of advanced turbocharged engines;
  • analysis and control design of automotive thermal management systems;
  • experimental testing and modeling of automotive batteries, alternators and ancillary loads
  • optimal energy management of the automotive electrical system; 
  • vehicle energy harvesting
  • in-cylinder pressure estimation;

Optimization and Control of Advanced Turbocharged Engines

Due to the reduction of the number of cylinders, reduction of friction in the piston and reduction of the vehicle mass, nowadays downsizing and turbocharging is a very popular trend. Engine Downsizing and Turbocharging A downsized and turbocharged engine has the same or better performance of a non downsized naturally aspirated engine and better fuel efficiency. With simple boosting configurations there is a significant delay in torque rise during sharp acceleration with low initial engine speed (turbo lag). More advance boosting systems like two stage turbo, variable geometry turbine (VGT) and compressor (VGC), superchargers and electrically assisted turbochargers need to be considered. Advanced turbocharged systems are over-actuated systems. Most of my research in this area was focused on deriving control algorithms that would allow to take advantage of the extra degrees of freedom to optimize some performance variables (efficiency, stability range, lag, etc).

Control Design for Air-breathing Hypersonic Vehicles

Air-breathing hypersonic vehicles are powered by a supersonic combustion ramjet engine (scramjet) which allows them to operate efficiently at hypersonic speeds. Since those vehicles are air-breathing, heavy oxygen tanks are no longer needed. 
As a consequence, an opportunity for increased cargo and payload is offered with respect to the rocket-propelled systems currently in use. Furthermore, as opposed to expendable launch systems, where each vehicle is launched once and then discarded, air-breathing hypersonic vehicles are reusable and can be launched into space more than once. As a result, they offer a promising and cost effective technology for reliable access to space that will allow a tremendous reduction in the cost of space missions. Access to space, however, is not the only purpose that hypersonic vehicles can accomplish: they may also be employed as manned or unmanned cruisers capable for the first time of reaching any point in the hemisphere in just a few hours, thus offering a futuristic high-speed commercial air transport to replace the decommissioned Concorde. When flight-path angle is selected as a regulated output and the elevator is the only control surface available for the pitch dynamics, the longitudinal models of the rigid body dynamics of air-breathing hypersonic vehicles exhibit unstable zero-dynamics. NASA X-43 Experimental VehicleThe goal of my research was to design a control algorithm that would allow the vehicle to track arbitrary altitude and velocity reference trajectories while keeping the other variables in their desired feasible range. The approach adopted uses a combination of small-gain arguments and adaptive control techniques for the design of a nonlinear state-feedback controller that achieves asymptotic tracking of velocity and altitude reference trajectories in spite of model uncertainties.The method reposes upon a suitable redefinition of the internal dynamics and uses a time-scale separation between the controlled variables to manage the peaking phenomenon occurring in the system. A formal proof of stability is provided that provides bounds on the regulated variables and guarantees bounds on the angle of attack. This last condition is crucial to avoid undesirable effect like the thermal chocking of the engine. Extensive simulation analysis on a full nonlinear vehicle model that includes structural flexibility has illustrates the effectiveness of the proposed methodology.