This work presents theoretical and experimental means for achieving impeller stability in a magnetically levitated left ventricular assist device (LVAD). These types of medical devices are designed to boost the native heart`s ability to pump blood by means of mechanical energy transfer using a rotating impeller. Magnetic suspension of the impeller eliminates bearing friction and reduces blood damage, but it requires active controls that monitor the impeller`s position and speed in order to generate the forces and torques required to regulate its dynamic behavior. To accomplish this goal, this work includes: 1) a dynamic system model derived using energy and momentum conservation 2) dynamic analysis including stability, controllability and observability, and 3) development of two control algorithms: proportional integral derivative and sliding mode control. Experimental validation included component behavior, model accuracy, and the characterization of controller performance using a physiological simulator. The system model proved to be an adequate representation of the system while levitating in air, but additional research is needed to model hydrodynamic and gyroscopic effects. After the prototype`s subcomponents were tested, calibrated and/or modified to fit the control requirements, both control strategies were successful in controlling the rotor as it spun at 6000 rpm pumping 6L/min of water at 80mmHg. A maximum speed of 6500 rpm was achieved with speed control within 5% over most of the operating range. The control platform and many of the methods presented here are continually being used and improved towards the implantation of the device in a human subject in the future.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Rotary pumps--Testing; Rotary pumps--Design and construction; Blood--Circulation, Artificial; Heart--Left ventricle; Medical instruments and apparatus--Design and construction
Department, Program, or Center
Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)
Gomez, Arnold David, "Control of a magnetically levitated ventricular assist device" (2009). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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