Date of Award

January 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Hossein Salehfar


Induction machines are electromechanical energy conversion devices comprised of a stator and a rotor. Torque is generated due to the interaction between the rotating magnetic field from the stator, and the current induced in the rotor conductors. Their speed and torque output can be precisely controlled by manipulating the magnitude, frequency, and phase of the three input sinusoidal voltage waveforms. Their ruggedness, low cost, and high efficiency have made them ubiquitous component of nearly every industrial application. Thus, even a small improvement in their energy efficient tend to give a large amount of electrical energy savings over the lifetime of the machine. Hence, increasing energy efficiency (reducing energy losses) in induction machines is a constrained optimization problem that has attracted attention from researchers.

The energy conversion efficiency of induction machines depends on both the speed-torque operating point, as well as the input voltage waveform. It also depends on whether the machine is in the transient or steady state. Maximizing energy efficiency during steady state is a Static Optimization problem, that has been extensively studied, with commercial solutions available. On the other hand, improving energy efficiency during transients is a Dynamic Optimization problem that is sparsely studied. This dissertation exclusively focuses on improving energy efficiency during transients.

This dissertation treats the transient energy loss minimization problem as an optimal control problem which consists of a dynamic model of the machine, and a cost functional.

The rotor field oriented current fed model of the induction machine is selected as the dynamic model. The rotor speed and rotor d-axis flux are the state variables in the dynamic model. The stator currents referred to as d-and q-axis currents are the control inputs. A cost functional is proposed that assigns a cost to both the energy losses in the induction machine, as well as the deviations from desired speed-torque-magnetic flux setpoints. Using Pontryagin’s minimum principle, a set of necessary conditions that must be satisfied by the optimal control trajectories are derived. The conditions are in the form a two-point boundary value problem, that can be solved numerically. The conjugate gradient method that was modified using the Hestenes-Stiefel formula was used to obtain the numerical solution of both the control and state trajectories.

Using the distinctive shape of the numerical trajectories as inspiration, analytical expressions were derived for the state, and control trajectories. It was shown that the trajectory could be fully described by finding the solution of a one-dimensional optimization problem. The sensitivity of both the optimal trajectory and the optimal energy efficiency to different induction machine parameters were analyzed.

A non-iterative solution that can use feedback for generating optimal control trajectories in real time was explored. It was found that an artificial neural network could be trained using the numerical solutions and made to emulate the optimal control trajectories with a high degree of accuracy. Hence a neural network along with a supervisory logic was implemented and used in a real-time simulation to control the Finite Element Method model of the induction machine. The results were compared with three other control regimes and the optimal control system was found to have the highest energy efficiency for the same drive cycle.