Energy Efficient Control of Multistable Engineering Systems. Self-funded PhD in Engineering. Ref: 3084

About the Research Project

Location:  Streatham Campus, University of Exeter, EX4 4QJ

Academic Supervisors:  Dr Yang Liu

Project description:

Today, it is a major challenge for power intensive industries to optimize their energy strategy in order to ensure long-term sustainable economic growth. Strategies for engineering systems to improve their energy efficiency are timely and vital. This project intends to unravel a practical question: can we improve the energy efficiency of engineering systems through judiciously switching between their coexisting states? This project seeks to explore a frontier research area in dynamics and control to improve the energy efficiency of multistable engineering systems via implementing a novel minimal energy control.

The proposed research aims to develop a novel control strategy for multistable engineering systems in order to maintain their performance within a satisfactory level by implementing an energy-optimal steering. This will be achieved by studying a novel non-smooth dynamical system, namely the vibro-impact capsule system through both theoretical development and experimental validation. In the long term, this project will be fundamental for the realization of energy efficient control, which will provide safe, reliable, and efficient operations for future engineering systems.

The approach to realize this PhD project is: (1) to study multistability in vibro-impact systems (e.g. impact oscillator) and its basins of attraction numerically and experimentally; (2) to develop a new control strategy for switching between different coexisting attractors; and (3) to verify the proposed control strategy experimentally using the experimental rig of the capsule system.

For more information about the project and informal enquiries, please contact the primary supervisor: Dr Yang Liu -


Information about current fees can be found here:

Information about possible funding sources can be found here:

Entry requirements

Applicants for this research project must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology. 

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the English language requirements and provide proof of proficiency. Click here for more information and a list of acceptable alternative tests.


How to apply

You will be asked to submit some personal details and upload a full CV, covering letter and two academic references. Your covering letter should outline your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake this project. You may also be asked to upload verified transcripts of your most academic qualification.

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email

Please quote reference 3084 on your application and in any correspondence about this project.



Application deadline:24th September 2018
Value:This project is self-funded
Duration of award:Not applicable
Contact: EMPS Postgraduate Research Office