Fast and smooth clutch engagement control for a mechanical hybrid powertrain

Koos Van Berkel, Frans Veldpaus, Theo Hofman, Bas Vroemen, Maarten Steinbuch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Automatically controlled clutches are widely used in advanced automotive powertrains to transmit a demanded torque while synchronizing the rotational speeds of the shafts. The two objectives of the clutch engagement controller are a fast clutch engagement to reduce the frictional losses and thermal load, and a smooth clutch engagement to accurately track the demanded torque without a noticeable torque dip. Meanwhile, the controller is subjected to standard constraints such as model uncertainty and limited sensor information. This paper presents a new controller design that explicitly separates the control laws for each objective by introducing three clutch engagement phases. The time instants to switch between the subsequent phases are chosen such that the desired slip acceleration is achieved at the time of clutch engagement. The latter can be interpreted as a single calibration parameter that determines the tradeoff between fast and smooth clutch engagement. The controller is elaborated for a mechanical hybrid powertrain that uses a flywheel as a secondary power source and a continuously variable transmission. Simulations and experiments on a test rig show that the control objectives are realized with a robust and relatively simple controller.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6601666
Pages (from-to)1241-1254
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • Automotive
  • clutch engagement control
  • continuously variable transmission (CVT)
  • flywheel
  • hybrid powertrain
  • torque control


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