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ME2142E: Module Report

December 2014
Question 1
The purpose of this question is to test the student on his/her basic understanding of transfer
functions that the transient response of control systems.
(a)

This part of the question tests on the students ability to derive the differential equations
of motion of a simple spring-mass-damper mechanical system and, thereby, the transfer
function of the system. Those students who did poorly on this part were those who had a
weak foundation on the dynamics of simple mechanical systems.

(b)

This part of the question tests the students ability to identify a simple first-order
response. This was covered in the lectures and also demonstrated in one of the two
experiments that students had to go through. Most students were able to identify the
response as that for a first-order system although some had difficulties determining the
exact form of the transfer function with appropriate parameters.

(c)

This part of the question tests the student understanding of the transient response of a
simple second-order system and the dynamic parameters governing such a response.
Most students did quite well.

Question 2
The purpose of this question is to test the student on his/her basic understanding of feedback
control system stability and how the parameters affecting this.
(a)

This part of the question tests on the students understanding of how the characteristic
equation and its roots affect system stability. Most students generally answered well
although some did not provide sufficient details.

(b)

This part of the question tests the students ability to use Rouths Stability Criterion to
determine the stability of a given system. Students generally did well on this part.

(c)

This part of the question tests the student on his/her understanding of a systems steadystate characteristics and requires the derivation of a given systems steady-state error for
two common test inputs. This is a straightforward question, especially given that students
are allow a page of personal notes/formulae students generally gave the correct answers.

Question 3
The purpose of this question is to test a student on his/her basic understanding of Frequency
Response.

(a)

This part of the question tests on the students ability to sketch the Bode plots (both
magnitude (or gain) versus frequency and phase versus frequency) for a given transfer
function. Most students were able to sketch these plots. However, there were a few
students who were unable to sketch these plots.

(b)

This part of the question tests the students ability to read off the gain and phase margins
from the plots of part (a). Most students were able to deduce the gain and phase margins.

(c)

This part of the question tests the student on the effect of increasing gain on the Bode
plots of part (a). Only the gain plot changes: It is shifted vertically by the gain amount in
dB. The phase plot remains unchanged. Therefore, one can compute the new gain and
phase margins without re-plotting the plots of part (a). Most students understand that the
phase plot will remain unchanged. However, this does not mean the phase margin will
remain the same as in part (a).

(d)

This part of the question tests the student on the output response of a system whose
transfer function and its input sinusoidal are given. Most students were able to calculate
the gain and phase of the system at the frequency of the input and then re-constituting the
output response with these values.

Question 4
The purpose of this question is to test a students understanding of the Nyquist Stability
Criterion.
(a)

This part of the question tests the student on the sketching of the Nyquist plot for a given
transfer function.

(b)

This part of the question tests the student on the application of the Nyquist Stability
Criterion. This requires the student to calculate the negative real axis intercept. The
student then has to determine the value of the gain such that the negative real axis
intercept is greater than -1. Generally most students were able to do the above.
However, there are a few who have left this part of the question unanswered.

(c)

This part of the question requires the student to calculate the imaginary axis intercept for
a gain of K=10. Since imaginary axis intercepts are complex conjugate pairs, the student
has to identify the appropriate of these conjugate pairs as the positive imaginary axis
intercept. Most students were able to do this.

(d)

This part of the question tests the student on the calculation of the gain margin when
K=1. For this part of the question, the definition of gain margin requires the student to
compute the reciprocal of the negative real axis intercept. Most students were able to do
this.