Cascade Control Method for Conducting Hybrid Simulation with Stiff Specimens

S. You, X. S. Gao, B. Thoen, C. French, E. Cosgriff, P. Bergson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hybrid simulation is an innovative method that combines an analysis model of a structural system with physical tests of one or more substructures. The analysis model is typically a finite element analysis (FEA) model that outputs displacements applied to the physical substructure using a control system operated in displacement control. For stiff specimens, the displacement commands can be so small that the control system has difficulty imposing the command displacements accurately. To do hybrid simulation with a stiff specimen, force control is desirable. Cascade control, which features two layers of closed loop control, is proposed to address this issue. The inner control loop has force control mode that provides accurate control for hybrid tests with stiff specimens. The outer control loop is in displacement control mode for accepting displacement commands from an FEA model. The effectiveness of the cascade control method in conducting hybrid simulation of stiff test specimens was evaluated with three sets of tests. For each set of tests, the results of both cascade control and displacement control methods were compared. The three test cases covered a wide range of variation from specimen size, test equipment, model type (2-D vs. 3-D), experimental element type (beam-column vs. truss), and test speed (slowdown 10 times in Test Case 1 and 2 versus 100 times in Test Case 3). In all cases, cascade control proved to be an effective method for conducting hybrid simulation with a stiff specimen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalExperimental Techniques
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc.


  • Cascade control
  • Hybrid testing
  • PID control loop
  • Structural testing


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