This paper demonstrates a framework for integrating full feedback control with a high-fidelity finite element model in order to simulate control of morphing structures. Most of the previous finite element simulations involving control of morphing structures consider the effects of the controller, but do not incorporate true feedback control. Additionally, when feedback control is considered, numerical models other than finite element analysis are used. Thus, a trade-off must be made between a high-fidelity model and consideration of feedback control. In this work, these aspects are unified to create a tool that can simulate real-time feedback control of a finite element model.
The framework itself consists of two components: the finite element model and the controller. The finite element model must be capable of varying external loads as the solution evolves in time. In this paper, the finite element model is implemented in ABAQUS. The controller component is written in Python. In order to ensure the framework is suitable for a wide range of applications, no assumptions are made regarding the natures of the finite element model or the control architecture. Additionally, the components are designed to be modular. For example, simulating different controller architectures does not require alteration of the finite element model. The result is a highly flexible framework that is particularly well-suited for validating and demonstrating controllers on high-fidelity models.