Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science In Electrical Engineering Degree


Electrical Engineering And Computer Science

First Advisor

Dong, Lili

Second Advisor

Petru Fodor

Third Advisor

Siu-Tung Yau


In this thesis, three control methods are developed for the impedance control of a linear pneumatic actuator for contact tasks using discrete valves. Linear pneumatic actuators, particularly with discrete valves, utilize compressed air to produce linear motion. It is a low cost and clean system with straightforward implementation compared to other actuators. Impedance control is applied to the pneumatic actuator to regulate not only force and position, but also the relationship between them. Specifically, the impedance control yields a desired air pressure based on the actual and desired positions, velocity, and force of a pneumatic cylinder to drive the dynamics of the actuator system. Three controllers including Active Disturbance Rejection Control (ADRC), Sliding Mode Control (SMC), and Extended State Observer (ESO) based SMC are implemented to control the pressure output of the actuator system. The control goal is to drive the actual pressure output to the desired pressure from the impedance control module despite the presence of parameter variations and external disturbances. The performances of these controllers are compared based on their abilities of regulating position, force, and pressure in contact and non-contact situations, as well as the amount of control efforts that excite the valve to achieve these goals. Simulation results demonstrate that ADRC provides the best solution to accomplish the control goals in terms of accurate tracking of position, effectively regulating impedance in the presence of an object, and requiring the least amount of control effort necessary to excite valves.