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The University of Southampton

SESM3030 Control and Instrumentation

Module Overview

This module covers topics in classical and modern control analysis and design with a focus on linear time invariant systems. Fundamental design and analysis in the time and frequency domain are reviewed and developed. The properties of discrete-time systems (computer control) are introduced and the fundamentals of digital control introduced. State-space control analysis and design methods are then explored, including multivariable control and disturbance rejection. As all systems are nonlinear to some extent, this module also introduces the analysis and design for nonlinear dynamical systems. The practical aspects of control design and its digital implementation are also discussed in this module. The module aims to give the student a general overview of instrumentation systems, with particular emphasis on the integration of the various components in a system. There is an emphasis on system design, such that students can design a complete system, from an understating of the measurement requirement to the input to digital systems. It includes an introduction to digital signal processing. The module will require/assume a basic understanding of electronics, to include operational amplifiers and digital electronics. To attend this module, students are expected to have learned and understood classical continuous-time control analysis and design that includes dynamical modelling, transient responses, stability and steady state error analysis and basic PID controller design.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The mathematical modelling of dynamic, particularly electro-mechanical, systems.
  • The fundamentals of classical control design methods, to identify, classify and analyse the performance of systems and components through the use of analytical and computer based techniques
  • The principles of instrumentation and measurement systems, which demonstrates the ability to apply and integrate knowledge and understanding of other engineering disciplines to support the study of their own engineering discipline
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Analyse the stability of a system in the time and frequency domains.
  • Transform continuous-time dynamics into discrete-time dynamics for control and instrumentation purposes, and perform discrete-time control analysis/design based on their analogy to continuous-time methods.
  • Perform controller designs using lead-lag compensators and state-feedback.
  • Understand and analyse the behaviour of nonlinear systems using the phase-plane method and describing functions.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Judge the merits of using approximate state-space, frequency response and phase plane models to solve control problems
  • Gain skills in applying various control analysis and design tools into real applications through taught control examples and in the coursework.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Construct suitable numerical mathematical models applicable to the design of control systems.
  • Advance your skills in MATLAB/SIMULINK in modelling and control design
  • Design control algorithms for application on real example systems
  • Design an instrumentation system to include the integration of sensors, signal conditioning, and digitisation


Section I: Classical control design (6 lectures) The early part of the course recalls classical analysis and design methods for control systems. Review of root-locus; Stability; Frequency response; Bode plots; Nyquist stability criterion; Lead and lag-compensator design are introduced. Section II: Discrete-time systems (6 lectures) Sampling theory and z-transform; Transient response of digital systems; The z-plane and root loci; Stability analysis for discrete-time control systems; Digital controller design; Frequency response. Section III: State-space analysis and control design (8 lectures) Examples of time domain modelling in mechanical and electrical systems; Use of state-space and transfer function models, modal analysis, stability, sampled models, controllability, observability, state-space canonical forms; State feedback and pole assignment; Pole-placement design; Ackermann's formula; Multi-variable control design problem; Disturbance rejection. Section IV: Nonlinear systems analysis and control design (4 lectures) Nonlinear behaviour and common nonlinearities; the phase-plane method; describing functions; stability analysis. Section V: Instrumentation (12 lectures) Introduction to instrumentation; Sensors and Transducers; Signal Conditioning; Analogue to Digital Conversion; System Design; Data and Signal Analysis; Data Acquisition.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The teaching methods employed in the delivery of this module include: Lectures, tutorial problems, question sheets, worked examples. The learning activities include: - Individual reading of background material and course texts, plus work on examples. - Assignments covering core techniques and principles. - MATLAB/SIMULINK based exercises. - Example sheets and worked solutions.

Completion of assessment task18
Wider reading or practice85
Preparation for scheduled sessions11
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Lecture materials accessible on Blackboard.. 





MethodPercentage contribution
Final Assessment  100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: FEEG2004 OR SESA3030

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