Stabilization of mechanical systems using controlled Lagrangians

Anthony M. Bloch, Naomi Ehrich Leonard, Jerrold E. Marsden

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


We propose an algorithmic approach to stabilization of Lagrangian systems. The first step involves making admissible modifications to the Lagrangian for the uncontrolled system, thereby constructing what we call the controlled Lagrangian. The Euler-Lagrange equations derived from the controlled Lagrangian describe the closed-loop system where new terms are identified with control forces. Since the controlled system is Lagrangian by construction, energy methods can be used to find control gains that yield closed-loop stability. The procedure is demonstrated for the problem of stabilization of an inverted pendulum on a cart and for the problem of stabilization of rotation of a rigid spacecraft about its unstable intermediate axis using a single internal rotor. Similar results hold for the dynamics of an underwater vehicle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2356-2361
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1997 36th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control. Part 1 (of 5) - San Diego, CA, USA
Duration: Dec 10 1997Dec 12 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Control and Optimization


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