An Application of the Individual Channel Analysis and Design Approach to Control of a Two-input Two-output Coupled-tanks System

David J. Murray-Smith


Frequency-domain methods have provided an established approach to the analysis and design of single-loop feedback control systems in many application areas for many years. Individual Channel Analysis and Design (ICAD) is a more recent development that allows neo-classical frequency-domain analysis and design methods to be applied to multi-input multi-output control problems. This paper provides a case study illustrating the use of the ICAD methodology for an application involving liquid-level control for a system based on two coupled tanks. The complete nonlinear dynamic model of the plant is presented for a case involving two input flows of liquid and two output variables, which are the depths of liquid in the two tanks. Linear continuous proportional plus integral controllers are designed on the basis of linearised plant models to meet a given set of performance specifications for this two-input two-output multivariable control system and a computer simulation of the nonlinear model and the controllers is then used to demonstrate that the overall closed-loop performance meets the given requirements. The resulting system has been implemented in hardware and the paper includes experimental results which demonstrate good agreement with simulation predictions. The performance is satisfactory in terms of steady-state behaviour, transient responses, interaction between the controlled variables, disturbance rejection and robustness to changes within the plant. Further simulation results, some of which involve investigations that could not be carried out in a readily repeatable fashion by experimental testing, give support to the conclusion that this neo-classical ICAD framework can provide additional insight within the analysis and design processes for multi-input multi-output feedback control systems.


multivariable; feedback; control; coupled tanks; frequency domain; nonlinear

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ISSN 1210-2709 (Print)
ISSN 1805-2363 (Online)
Published by the Czech Technical University in Prague