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Continuous chemical processes are inherently dynamic systems – process inputs and outputs change in time. To accommodate this, modern plants require some form of automatic control. This subject equips students with the skills to understand how and why key process variables change in time, and to then design and implement effective control strategies to accommodate this.
Students are introduced to the concept of feedback control, with examples of control schemes for common unit operations. Time domain analysis of process dynamics is performed using linear ordinary differential equations, Laplace transforms, and transfer functions. The response of complex process plants to common dynamic inputs is investigated. Students are introduced to frequency response analysis and Bode plots. The development of empirical dynamic models, and numerical simulation using MATLAB, is also covered.
The process control component of the subject introduces the concept of closed loop transfer functions and the PID controller. Dynamic process simulation is performed using analytical techniques and with the numerical simulation capabilities of the MATLAB Simulink software package. The stability of closed loop systems is analysed using techniques such as Routh stability analysis, the Bode stability criterion, and gain and phase margins. The effect of controller tuning constants on control system response is investigated, along with various controller tuning methods. Advanced control strategies including cascade control, time-delay compensation, and feedforward control are developed, as well as techniques to simultaneously control multiple process variables in multiloop systems.
Feedback control schemes for common unit operations. Developing and solving dynamic process models, including the application of Laplace transforms and transfer functions as well as the use of numerical simulation tools. Frequency response analysis and Bode plots. Modelling of closed-loop control systems and PID controllers. Closed-loop stability analysis and controller tuning. Advanced single-loop control strategies and multiloop control systems.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject the student is expected to:
- Understand how key process variables change in time for common chemical processes responding to typical dynamic inputs
- Be able to model the dynamics of common unit operations, using analytical methods and computer simulations
- Analyse and implement effective and efficient control strategies for chemical processes
- Be able to analyse and tune feedback controllers effectively
- Demonstrate mastery of the mathematical modelling of feedback and other control loops
- Appraise different methods of implementing advanced forms of process control and identify the optimum solutions particularly considering multi-loop control
- Ability to apply knowledge of basic science and engineering fundamentals
- In-depth technical competence in at least one engineering discipline
- Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution
- Ability to use a systems approach to design and operational performance
- Ability to optimise control systems for maximum efficiency
- Ability to apply engineering methods to solve complex problems.
Last updated: 17 March 2020