Spatially distributed control: heat conduction in a rod

Spatially distributed control is a design principle for systems which include many repeating units with overlapping regions of influence. Transfer functions in both time and spatial dimensions are used to design a controller for applications from a paper mill to the next generation space telescope. This thesis is part of a project known as HeatAl to create a hardware system for demonstration experiments of spatially distributed control. The system consists of an array of heaters and thermometers along an aluminium rod. Mathematical models of the system have been created using finite elements, PDE, state space and multi-dimensional transfer functions. A system identification experiment has produced comparable results to the model and given a value for the convection co-efficient. Ten different controllers have been designed from published literature and grouped by architecture – centralised (MIMO), decentralised (SISO) and spatially distributed. Simulation results favour simple PI or PID designs over all architectures. The models and controllers will be used in the ongoing HeatAl project.

Author: Rapson, Christopher James

Source: Luleå University of Technology

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