Rush D. Robinett III

Rush D. Robinett Faculty


The Richard and Elizabeth Henes Chair Professor in Mechanical Engineering

Director of Research

Agile & Interconnected Microgrids Center Co-Director

  • Ph.D. Texas A&M University 1987
  • MS University of Texas at Austin 1984


Dr. Robinett specializes in nonlinear control and optimal system design of energy, robotics, and aerospace systems. 
Of particular interest in the energy arena is the distributed, decentralized nonlinear control and optimization of networked microgrids with up to 100% penetration of transient renewable energy sources (i.e., photovoltaics and wind turbines).  At 100% penetration, the optimal design of energy storage systems is critical to the stability and performance of networked microgrids because all of the spinning inertia and fossil fuel of the generators have been removed from the system.  In the robotics area, collective control of teams of simple, dumb robots that solve complicated problems is of continuing research interest.  The application areas span the space from chemical plume tracing of buried land mines to underwater detection of targets of interest to airborne surveillance systems to spacecraft formations.  In the aerospace area, system identification, trajectory optimization, guidance algorithm development, and autopilot design form the fundamentals of all of these research topics.  These fundamentals are presently being applied to stall flutter suppression and meta-stable controller design research. 

Areas of Expertise

  • Renewable Energy Grid Integration
  • Collective Systems Control
  • Nonlinear Controls
  • Optimization
  • Dynamics
  • Aeroelasticity

Research Interests

  • Energy storage system design for renewable energy grid integration
  • High penetration renewable energy microgrids
  • Collective control of networked microgrids and teams of robots
  • Exergy control for buildings
  • Flutter suppression for wind turbines
  • Nonlinear control system design

Recent Publications

  • Robinett, R.D. III and Wilson, D.G., Nonlinear Power Flow Control: Utilizing Exergy, Entropy, Static and Dynamic Stability and Lyapunov Analysis, Springer Complexity, Understanding Complex Systems, Springer-Verlag 2011.
  • Robinett III, R.D., and Wilson, D.G., 2010, “Nonlinear Slewing Spacecraft Control Based on Exergy, Power Flow, and Static and Dynamic Stability,” The Journal of the Astronautical Sciences, Vol. 57, No. 4, October-December 2010, pp. 717-741.
  • Robinett III, R.D., and Wilson, D.G., 2010, “Hamiltonian Surface Shaping with Information Theory and Exergy/Entropy Control for Collective Plume Tracing,” Invited Paper to Special Issue on “Information Processing and Decision Making in Distributed Control Systems,” International Journal of Systems, Control and Communications, Vol. 2, Nos. 1/2/3, pp. 144-169.
  • Robinett III, R.D., and Wilson, D.G., 2009, “Exergy and Irreversible Entropy Production Thermodynamic Concepts for Nonlinear Control Design,” International Journal of Exergy, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 357-387.