Title page for ETD etd-06102012-040314

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Thompson, Christopher David
URN etd-06102012-040314
Title An analytical and experimental investigation of respiratory dynamics using P/D control and carbon dioxide feedback
Degree Master of Science
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Robertshaw, Harry H. Committee Chair
Diller, Thomas E. Committee Member
Leonard, Robert G. Committee Member
  • Respiration
Date of Defense 1988-12-05
Availability restricted
This thesis addresses the problem of defining the control law for human respiration.

Seven different drivers have been identified as possibly having an input to the

respiratory controller. These seven represent a combination of feedforward and feedback

inputs arising from neural and humoral mechanisms.

Using the assumption that carbon dioxide concentrations in the arterial blood have the

strongest effect, a control equation with proportional and derivative components based on

this driver was evaluated. The methodology for the evaluation was to create a model of

the respiratory system incorporating the P/D controller, obtain experimental data of one

test subject's respiratory response to exercise, then compare model generated output with

experimental data, and adjust the parameters in the control equation to yield optimal

model performance.

The usual practice of testing controller performance has been to apply single step loads

to a model and evaluate its response. A multi-step protocol was used here to provide a

better, more generalized test of controller performance. This thesis may represent the

first documented use of an approach of this type for evaluating respiratory controller


Application of a multi-step protocol revealed a non-linear controller was needed to keep

pace with system changes. Respiratory system operation was effectively managed using

a controller of the form:


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