H-optimal controllers are designed for a rotor being subject to unbalance excitation and gyroscopic effect. The system possesses two unbalance-induced resonances within its operating range. The presence of gyroscopic effect is challenging for linear time invariant controller design because of the associated dependence of the system dynamics on the rotational frequency of the rotor. Controllers thus have to be robust against deviation of the actual system behavior from the controller design point model.

For vibration control purposes, there are two piezoelectric actuators installed in one of the two supports of the rotor. The signals of four inductive sensors measuring the displacements of the two discs of the rotor are used for controller design.

In this article, H-optimal controllers are designed on the basis of input and output weighting as well as weighting of modal degrees of freedom and modal excitations. It is shown that superior control performance is achieved using modal weighting since a more accurate problem description of rotors excited by unbalance is incorporated in controller design. Results in this article show furthermore that it is possible to design well performing H-optimal controllers for a gyroscopic rotor by means of iterative controller design without taking model uncertainty directly into account via weighting of certain FRFs of the system to be controlled.

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