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Module IES-3006:
Control Systems

Module Facts

Run by School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Jeffrey Kettle

Overall aims and purpose

The module aims to establish the basic techniques of classical control system analysis and design for single input, single output systems, using both time domain and frequency response methods.

Course content

• Introduction to control system, revision of laplace transforms Dynamic system modelling of mechanical, electromechanical, fluid and heat flow systems; analogies between different types of physical systems. The solution of ordinary differential equations; transfer functions; block diagram representation and manipulation; characteristics of second order systems. • Principles of feedback; advantages and drawbacks of negative feedback; disturbance rejection; sensor noise; different types of feedback - proportional, integral and derivative. Dynamic performance indicators; steady state error; system type; regions in the s-plane related to different forms of dynamic response; stability criteria; time domain specifications. • Pole and zero locations; relationship to step and frequency responses. The Bode plot; gain and phase margins as measures of stability. • Lead compensation and its uses; lag compensation and its uses; application to improving control system performance; design guidelines and methods. • Matlab's Control System Toolbox for control systems analysis and design.

Learning outcomes mapped to assessment criteria







Understand and manipulate low order linear mathematical models for physical systems.

Can state basic physical laws. Can solve simple ODEs using a routine method. Knows how to express I/O relationships using transfer functions and block diagrams. Can state the salient features of a 2nd order system. Can proceed from a precise description of a physical system to a quantitative model. Able to convert the model to alternative forms and deduce their dynamic characteristics. Can derive a model making justifiable assumptions based on knowledge of the physical system. Aware of model limitations. Can use various methods to manipulate the model.

Know how negative feedback affects the dynamic response of a control system and how it is characterised by its primary performance measures.

Knows the principle of negative feedback. Can distinguish between under, over and critically damped systems. Can plot poles and zeros and relate their locations to time and frequency responses. Knows the effect of feedback on system characteristics. Can select the appropriate type of feedback to affect a range of performance indicators. Can balance trade-offs in performance when applying different types of feedback.

Analyse a simple control system.

Knows how to produce a root locus or Bode asymptote plot Can deduce time and frequency response characteristics from the plots; understands aspects of their duality. Able to extract information on stability from the plots and foresee how to modify the plot to change the response.

Design a basic compensator for a control system.

Knows how standard lead/lag compensation methods help to achieve a given performance specification. Can apply a standard design technique to achieve satisfactory closed loop performance. Can introduce additional dynamic components to improve and refine closed loop performance.

Use a professional level CAD package.

Can use basic CAD functions to specify transfer functions and plot step and frequency responses. Can use a range of CAD functions to set up a model and present its characteristics. Can recognise limitations of a model Able to introduce additional elements into model. Knows that nonlinearities can affect physical system response.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Closed Book Examination 80
Assignment Design exercise 20

Teaching and Learning Strategy


CAD laboratory to learn the control systems toolbox


1 x 2 hour lectures over 12 weeks (tutorials held at the end of classes)


Transferable skills

  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others

Subject specific skills

  • Apply underpinning concepts and ideas of engineering;
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of electronic engineering in an international context;
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of computer systems engineering in an international context;
  • Assess and choose optimal methods and approaches for the specification, design, implementation and evaluation of engineering solutions, especially ones that include embedded microprocessors
  • Solve problems logically and systematically;

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: