Distributed sensing and control of flexible structures have drawn much attention in recent years. Piezoelectric elements can be used with an elastic structure as sensors and actuators for structural monitoring and control applications. This paper presents a development of a thin piezoelectric finite element applied to active control of flexible structures. A piezoelectric finite element is derived using the variational equation and Hamilton’s principle. System equations of a piezoelectric structure are formulated accordingly. Guyan’s reduction technique is incorporated to improve the computation efficiency. Feedback control algorithms are also derived and implemented in the finite element code. Applications of the technique to a plate with segmented distributed sensora/actuators are studied and effectiveness evaluated.

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