Topics: Control theory, Feedback, Transfer function Pages: 23 (5278 words) Published: March 22, 2013


Systems are sets of components, physical or otherwise, which are connected in such a manner as to form and act as entire units. Control is the effort to make systems act as desired. A process is the ac tion of a system or alternatively, a system in action.

Humans have created control systems as technical innovations to enhance the quality and comfort of their lives. Human engineered control systems are part of automation, which is a feature of our modern life. They are applied in several aspects of our daily life- in heating and air conditioning to control our living environment and in many of our household appliances. They significantly relieve us from the burden of operation of complex systems and processes and enable us to achieve control with desired precision. Control systems enable accurate positioning and control of machine tools in metal cutting operations and automate manufacturing processes. They automatically guide and control space vehicles, aircraft, large sea going vessels, and highspeed ground transportation systems. Modern automation of a plant involves components such as sensors, instruments, computers and application of techniques of data processing and control. The principles and techni ques of automatic control may be applied in a wide variety of systems in order to enhance the quality of their performance.

Control systems are not human inventions; they have naturally evolved in the earth’s living system. The action of automatic control regulates the conditions necessary for life in almost all living things. They possess sensing and controlling systems and counter disturbances. An automatic temperature control system, for example, makes it possible to maintain the temperature of the human body constant at the right value despite varying ambient conditions. The human body is a very sophisticated biochemical processing plant in which the consumed food is processed and glands automatically release the required quantities of chemical substances as and when necessary in the process. The stability of the human body and its ability to move as desired are due to some very effective motion control systems. A bird in flight, a fish swimming in water or an animal on the run- all are under the influence of some very efficient control systems that have evolved in them.

The field of automatic control is very well developed. The established techniques in this field can be applied to the control of a wide range of systems - engineering systems such as machines and complex plants, natural systems

such as biological and ecological systems, and non -physical systems such as economic and sociological systems following the understanding of the similarity of the underlying problems.
Understanding a system for its properties is prerequisite to the creation of a control system for it. Before attempting to control a system, it is essential to know how it generally behaves and responds to external stimuli. Such an understanding is possible with the help of a model. The process of developing a model is known as modeling.

Physical systems are modeled by applying the phenomenological laws that govern their behavior. For example, mechanical systems are described by Newton’s laws and electrical systems by Ohm’s, Farad ay’s and Lenz’s laws. These laws form the basis for the constitutive properties of the elements in a system.

Consider an automobile's cruise control, which is a device designed to maintain a constant vehicle speed; the desired or reference speed, provided by the driver. The system in this case is the vehicle. The system output is the vehicle speed, and the control variable is the engine's throttle position which influences engine torque output.

A primitive way to implement cruise control is simply to lock the throttle position when the driver engages cruise control. However, on mountain terrain, the vehicle will slow down going...
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