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CHEE 3367

CONTROL LAB HANDOUT


Instructor: Prof. Michael Nikolaou
Teaching Assistants: Ajay Singh, Kevin Ziervogel

NOTE: PLEASE BRING TO THE LAB A FLASH-MEMORY KEY,


TO KEEP A COPY OF YOUR LAB DATA FOR LATER PROCESSING.

OBJECTIVES
1. Understand the hardware and software of a feedback control loop.
2. Perform a simple process identification experiment.
3. Design a controller based on the model.
4. Test the efficacy of the controller and fine-tune it experimentally.
5. Compare the experimental results to model-based predictions.

MATERIALS: The system on which the experiment is to be conducted is a continuous-flow tank that holds a liquid
(water), as shown in the following Figure.
F2

Manual Valve
F1

Manual Valve

Process to be
controlled
Water
Level
Sensor
(DP cell)

Automatic Control Valve

Computer controller F

Control objective: Maintain the level of the liquid in the tank by manipulating the outlet flowrate.
Disturbances: The flowrates F1 and F2. (For the purposes of this experiment, these flowrates are determined by
valve opening values set manually through the computer.)
Measurements: Liquid level in the tank, measured by a pressure cell at the bottom of the tank.
Manipulations: The automatic control valve opening.
Interconnections: A single feedback loop is used to reject disturbances and track setpoint changes.
Control law: A PI controller is implemented via the computer.

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Things to do and think about:
- Familiarize yourself with the components of the system, both hardware and software.
- PREPARE A BLOCK DIAGRAM OF THE SYSTEM (SHOWING ALL SIGNALS) AND ADHERE
TO IT DURING THE EXPERIMENT.
- What kind of valves are used and how do they work?
- What kind of measuring device is used and how does it work?
- How do the different components communicate with each other? (Hint: Do a Web search on 4-20 mA
control standard and OPC OLE for process control.)
- What is the controllers sampling rate?

METHODS
dh
1. Mass balance around the tank yields A = F1 (t ) + F2 (t ) F (t ) which becomes
dt
d h
A = F1 (t ) + F2 (t ) F (t ) (1)
dt
with all variables in deviation form. The resulting equation in the Laplace domain is
1
h( s ) = [ F1 ( s) + F2 ( s) F (s)] (2)
As
2. Using a PI controller results in a closed loop with well defined transfer functions and a corresponding
characteristic equation.
3. The parameter A (cross-sectional area of the tank) can be measured, or it can be estimated by an
experiment. Because the process itself is not stable (Why?), a closed-loop experiment must be performed.
Using a P controller with gain K c , the closed-loop transfer function between the liquid level in the tank
and its setpoint is
1
h( s ) = h SP ( s ) (3)
A
s +1
Kc
A
Then can be easily estimated from the response of h to a step change in h SP .
Kc
4. Using the resulting value of A one can design a PI controller via a modified Ziegler-Nichols procedure, as
described in the Appendix.
5. For the designed PI controller, the closed-loop response to (a) a disturbance in the form of changing F1 and
F2, and (b) a setpoint change can be tested.
6. The test results can be compared to the theoretical expectations based on the model identified in step 3.

PROCEDURE:
a) Select a value for K c and bring the system to steady state. Do not include integral or derivative control action.
Things to think about:
- How does the value of K c affect the closed loop (speed or response, noise rejection)?

b) Closed-Loop Step-Response Experiment: Start with the tank at steady state. Make a step change to the level

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setpoint. Observe the response of the liquid level as a function of time. Wait until steady state is reached. Plot
the output signal as function of time and get a simple model for the controlled process using eqn. (3).

Things to think about:


- Is the system initially at steady state?
- How large a change should be made on the setpoint?
- How long does it take for the system to reach a new steady state?

c) Controller Design: Design a controller on the basis of the above model. Determine values for the parameters
Kc, I (and optionally D) of a PID controller using the modified Ziegler-Nichols (ZN) method described in the
Appendix.

Things to think about:


- How sensitive are the controller tuning parameter values to modeling errors?
- Why not use the IMC method for controller design?
- Given that the process itself has integral action (eqn. (2)) why is integral action needed in the controller as
well? (Hint: Think of the effect of input disturbances.)

d) Controller Testing: After completing part (c), introduce a step disturbance by manually changing a disturbance
flow (F1 or F2) and record the response of the closed-loop. Plot all variables.

Things to think about:


- How large a disturbance can the controller reject before saturating?
- Are the results as expected? Why?

e) Simulations: Using the model developed in part (a), and the controller of part (c), conduct Simulink simulations
of the experiments of part (c).

Things to think about:


- How do the simulations compare to the experiments?

TO TURN IN: (Maximum of 3 pages, NOT including figures)


1. Executive Summary (What, Why, Where to read about How).
2. System description & objectives.
3. Conduct of the experiment.
4. Results
5. Discussion (Responses to Things to think about)

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Appendix Ziegler Nichols method for integrating processes
Ke s
For a process modeled as Y ( s ) = G ( s )U ( s ) U ( s ) , consider the corresponding response of y (t ) to a step
s
change in the manipulated input u (t ) , as shown in the figure below.

S
u(t) y(t)
M

t t

S
Then, compute the slope S and S * = , and use the following standard Ziegler-Nichols settings for P PI PID
M
controller tuning:
Controller structure Kc I D

1
P
S *

0.9
PI 3.33
S *

1.2
PID 2 0.5
S *