In this work, a method for determining a vehicle’s center-of-gravity using traditional commercially available sensors is developed. The method relies on using an accelerometer array along with rate gyro measurements for determining the linear acceleration of the vehicle along all directions at the center-of-gravity location. Once the acceleration at the center-of-gravity is formulated the location can be estimated by resolving measurements of acceleration not located at the center-of-gravity to the center-of-gravity location. Known kinematic equations are used to transform the accelerations at the instrument locations to the center-of-gravity location. An online parameter estimator is used to localize the center-of-gravity using a real-time resolution process. The algorithm uses known physics-based kinematic relationships among the accelerometer sensor array arranged in a unique configuration avoiding singularities for estimating the acceleration at the center-of-gravity location of a rigid body. An extensive simulation study was completed to evaluate the performance of the center-of-gravity localizer real-time estimator and resulting algorithms. A full nonlinear model of a flight vehicle was used for the simulation study. Multiple case scenarios were evaluated such as a slow moving center-of-gravity location and abrupt change as well along with various flight maneuver types. Results of the simulation study proved the feasibility of using traditional type measurements for accurately localizing the center-of-gravity of a vehicle.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Stability of airplanes--Mathematical models; Airplanes--Weight--Mathematical models; Airplanes--Dynamics--Mathematical models; Accelerometers

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)


Agamemnon Crassidis

Advisor/Committee Member

Michael Schrlau

Advisor/Committee Member

Mark Kempski


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes