M. Fikar, M. Klaučo, R. Paulen, Theory of Automatic Control I. Practice Examples. FCHPT STU in Bratislava, 2022, 210pp, ISBN 978-80-8208-085-1

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This textbook is mainly intended for undergraduate students in engineering in cybernetics at the Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology at the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava. This text is used in seminars of the course Theory of Automatic Control I in the first year of engineering (master's) studies. It can also be of interest to engineers or applied scientists. It is focused on problems in the theory of automatic control, process dynamics, control performance, and controller design.

The mathematical level of the covered topics is oriented to students in chemical engineering with knowledge of mass and energy balances and modelling, differential equations, Laplace transform, that is, those who have completed an introductory course in cybernetics or process control.

The contents of the book can be divided into two major parts. The first part considers process modelling, time-domain, and frequency-domain properties. Process modelling is based on dynamic mass and energy balances for processes that are typical in chemical, food, and bio-engineering. These models can further be simplified to linear state-space and input-output representations that are sufficiently precise for controller design. The course and the book concentrate on single-input, single-output (SISO) continuous-time input-output models, while state-space representations, discrete-time, multivariate systems are considered in subsequent courses.

The properties of input-output models described by transfer functions include time-domain characteristics resulting from process dynamics represented by poles and zeros as well as frequency-domain characteristic, the Bode and Nyquist plots, and relative stability.

The second part of the book considers closed-loop systems: feedback control, its components, and definition of control performance indices. The most common controller type, a PID controller, is investigated together with its properties, issues, and practical aspects. Special focus is on the root-locus method, i.e., characterisation of the closed-loop pole locations. Finally, selected controller design procedures are explained and compared.

The structure of each chapter is uniform: it starts with a list of new skills and knowledge that the students will acquire. Then, theoretical foundations are explained in an engineering fashion and are mostly declarative. It is assumed that a rigorous theoretical treatment is presented elsewhere -- selected references are mentioned at the end of the chapter.

Theoretical concepts are further elaborated using solved examples and simulations. Two nonlinear process models are used throughout the book: two tanks with interaction as an example of a nonlinear stable process, and two tanks with a pump that constitute an example of an open-loop unstable process.

The third part of each chapter contains practice examples. These are intended to be solved in seminars with teaching assistants. Both simulations and real-time experiments are used. We provide two editions of the book: while the print version contains practice example with solutions, the electronic version can provide practice examples without solution so that students can investigate various paths towards the solutions and later compare their approaches with the ones in the book. Also, solved practice examples can be a base for work in later chapters.

Each chapter contains problems where solutions are provided without explanation. These can serve for self-study and usually examine some broader topics.

Each chapter concludes with small fragments of code from MATLAB and Python. These are meant to complement chapter content and to help in implementation of concrete topics.

The textbook is complemented with other learning materials. The youtube section for students at UIAM web page: www.uiam.sk contains links and metadata to lecture videos available at youtube channel of the institute: www.youtube.com/c/UIAMFCHPTSTU}. The complete course lives at out Moodle server: elearn.uiam.sk and is available using guest access.

Material for the publication evolved for more than a decade. We would like to thank to many colleagues and doctoral students that contributed in some way and shaped the material. We were heavily influenced by Profs. Mikleš and Mészáros who had taught this course at our faculty in the past. We acknowledge assistance from Prof. Kvasnica, assoc. Prof. Bakošová and also our present colleagues at the Institute of Information Engineering, Automation and Mathematics for the collegial atmosphere. We would specifically wish to thank to Prof. Shardt from TU Ilmenau for his careful proofreading, suggestions to improve consistency, spelling, and language, and many constructive remarks. We also thank the reviewers, Prof. Alena Kozáková and assoc. Prof. Martin Gulan for their detailed notes and opinions that further greatly improved the manuscript.


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