Mechanical Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-29-2022


This thesis develops a methodology for run-to-run (R2R) control of a mechanical serial sectioning (mss) system for microstructural investigations. mss is a destructive material characterization process which repeatedly removes a thin layer of material and images the exposed surface. The images are then used to gain insight into the internal structure and arrangement of a material and are often used to generate a 3-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of the sample. Currently, an experienced human operator selects the parameters for mss to achieve the desired per slice removal rate. The proposed R2R control methodology automates this process while improving the precision and repeatability of material removal. The proposed methodology does this by solving an optimization problem designed to minimize the variance of the material removal subject to achieving the expected target removal rate. This optimization problem was embedded in an R2R framework to provide iterative feedback for disturbance rejection and convergence to the target removal amount. Since an analytic model of the mss system is unavailable, a data-driven approach to synthesize our R2R controller from historical data was used.


Run-to-Run Control, Mechanical Serial-Sectioning, Feedback Control

Degree Name

Mechanical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Claus Danielson

Second Committee Member

Dr. Jonathan Madison

Third Committee Member

Dr. Meeko Oihsi

Document Type