Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 742894, 29 pages
Review Article

Furuta's Pendulum: A Conservative Nonlinear Model for Theory and Practise

Departamento de Ingeniería de Sistemas y Automática, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros, Camino de los Descubrimientos s/n, 41092 Sevilla, Spain

Received 30 July 2009; Accepted 6 November 2009

Academic Editor: José Balthazar

Copyright © 2010 J. Á. Acosta. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Furuta's pendulum has been an excellent benchmark for the automatic control community in the last years, providing, among others, a better understanding of model-based Nonlinear Control Techniques. Since most of these techniques are based on invariants and/or integrals of motion then, the dynamic model plays an important role. This paper describes, in detail, the successful dynamical model developed for the available laboratory pendulum. The success relies on a basic dynamical model derived from Classical Mechanics which has been augmented to compensate the non-conservative torques. Thus, the quasi-conservative “practical” model developed allows to design all the controllers as if the system was strictly conservative. A survey of all the nonlinear controllers designed and experimentally tested on the available laboratory pendulum is also reported.