Date of Defense


First Advisor

Dr. James Kamman

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard Hathaway


An inverted pendulum, usually mounted on a cart actuated by an applied force, was designed and built for an existing hydraulically driven sled or cart. This particular sled was constrained to one axis along the horizontal plane of the base apparatus. Position information of the cart was acquired via a LVDT (Linear Variable Differential Transformer) sensor, and a digital sensor (angular incremental encoder) was used to sense the pendulum angle, which was collected by a computer containing a DAQ (Data Acquisition) card and running LabVIEW software. A LabVIEW graphical program was implemented as a controller of the hydraulic system that governed the motion of the sled in order to maintain vertical balance of the inverted pendulum.

The purpose for this type of experiment was to test different algorithms used to control mechanical systems. Examples of specific algorithms that regulate mechanical systems are proportional integral derivative (PID) and any combination of the three types. Control over mechanical systems is a vastly engulfing industry today by means of automation processes. These automation processes may be implement for various reasons, ranging from increased safety to optimization of performance.

Executing this experiment began by mathematically modeling the physical system. A number of software tools were developed to aid in the process of modeling and analyzing simulation data. Simulating the response to the system based on varying parameters, the team determined part specifications and requirements. After parts were designed and attained, the mechanical system was assembled for experimentation and analysis of results. The inverted pendulum successfully maintained a relative range of pendulum angle for the prescribed time of 15 seconds using PI control.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only