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Chemical Engineering Department

CHE 452: Unit Operations and Control Lab


Spring 2015
Experiment 1 Level Control

Lab Instructor: Dr. Ahmad Aidan


Submission Date: March 8, 2015

Student Name
Ahmad Kaki
Anisul Karim
Fahmida Anwar
Mahren Masud
Mohammed Ali Al-Alibasha

ABSTRACT

ID
41179
44246
39982
38975
39530

In this experiment, the characteristics of a level controller for a vessel with the open loop
and closed loop controllers using P, PI and ON/OFF controllers were studied. Initially, the open
loop test was performed at these pump voltages: 2 V, 3 V and 5 V. After which the effects of
varying proportional only gain were observed for the following values 5, 8, 10, 15 and 20. It is
observed that as the proportional gain is increased, the level of water moves closer to the set
point. However, the output signal gets denser with higher peak indicative of higher pumping
power. Later the proportional integral closed loop system was observed where the proportional
gain was kept at constant value of 12 and the integral constant was varied as follows 8, 5, 7, 1
and 3. From the graphs obtained, it was observed that addition of integral smoothens the system
and moves the level of water towards the set point. However, this observation was concluded
only for low integral values of 1, 3 and 5. The system was very unstable with high integral values
causing large fluctuation in water level (level transmitter) and output signal (pumping power).

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTACT..........................................................................................................2

TABLE OF CONTENTS.......................................................................................3
LIST OF FIGURES..............................................................................................3
LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................4
INTRODUCTION................................................................................................5
APARATUS......................................................................................................10
EXPERIMENTAL PRCOEDURE..........................................................................12
a) Open loop level step response test:......................................................12
b) Closed-loop proportional and proportional/integral gain control:..........13
c) ON/OFF control:.....................................................................................14
RESULTS AND OBSERVATION..........................................................................16
1) Open loop:.............................................................................................16
2) Closed Loop Proportional Control:.........................................................16
3) Closed Loop Proportional & Integral Control:........................................20
4) On/Off Control:......................................................................................23
DISCUSSION...................................................................................................26
CONCLUSION..................................................................................................27
REFERENCES..................................................................................................28

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1: Sight Glass Level Gauge...................................................................2


Figure 2: Measuring Level via Ultrasonic Waves..............................................2
Figure 3: Magnetic Level Gauge Controller......................................................2
Figure 4: Schematic Figure of an Open Loop Control System..........................2
Figure 5: Schematic Figure of a Closed Loop Control System..........................2
Figure 6: The Experimental Module.................................................................2
Figure 7: The Process/Cooler Flow Circuit........................................................2
Figure 8: Open Loop Mimic Panel Connections................................................2
Figure 9: Closed Loop Mimic Panel Connections..............................................2
Figure 10: On/Off Mimic Panel Connections.....................................................2

LIST OF TABLES

INTRODUCTION

In the world of engineering, and life in general, certain things must be


kept under control to ensure the safety and efficiency of certain process. In
the chemical engineering world specifically, it is important to control
temperature, pressure, flow rates, and liquid level. For liquid level control, it
is important to keep in mind that a lot of major equipment in the field
depend on level control. For example, separators, tanks, and reactors. If the
liquid level is too high or too low, it can damage the equipment, and in some
cases damage the people around the equipment too. Therefore, it is
important to have level controllers attached to some equipment to ensure
the safety of the equipment and the safety of humans. It also is important to
make sure the process runs efficiently and cost effectively.
To control the level of liquid, one must have a good measure of the
level first to be able to monitor the level and take correct action when
needed. In old times, humans used to throw stones in wells or wait for the
moon to be positioned on top of a deep water body to be able to have a good
idea of how deep the water is. However, humans developed more complex
ways to measure level more accurately. One of these ways is the sight
which is sometimes called the level gauge. The level gauge is a
transparent glass tube thats connected to a tank or vessel and has specific
markings which are calibrated according to that specific vessel. This method
of measuring level is very simple and convenient, however, it is not practical
for hazardous liquid since glass is prone to breakage and failure, which is
very dangerous if the materials contained inside can be a source of threat.

Figure 1: Sight glass level gauge

Another way of measuring level is using sound waves. This methods


includes installing a sound wave transmitter and receiver inside a vessel. The
device measure the time it takes the sound waves to travel to the liquid
surface and back to the receiver and gives a level reading. Of course such a
device needs to be calibrated every once in a while depending on usage and
the nature of the environment its installed in.

Figure 2: Measuring level via ultrasonic waves

Another method similar to the sound wave method is the laser beam
method. It works in the exact same way the sound wave transmitter and
receiver work by measuring the time it takes the light, in this case, to travel
to the liquid level and back.
Magnets and floats are also widely used to measure level. For example,
you can use a float which will move up and down and will always stay on the
liquid level. The float can be connected to a sleeve and whenever the float
moves the sleeves move with it. Magnets can be used by installing a metal
probe to a float inside a vessel. And outside the vessel you install a magnet
which can be connected to a calibrated scale. As the float move up and
down, the metal probe moves with it, and in turn moves the magnet on the
outer scale.

Figure 3: Magnetic level gauge controller

Finally, pressure difference can be used to measure level too. For


instance, if a vessel contains a uniform density and the gravitational

acceleration where the vessel is installed are constant, two pressure gauges
can be installed, one to measure the vessel pressure, and one to measure
the pressure at the bottom of the liquid. And the pressure difference can be
related directly to the height or level of the liquid by gh.
In our experiment we tested level control of a water vessel using
feedback control and three different control modes, manual control,
proportional only or P-control, and proportional integral or PI control.
Where manual control is considered to be open loop control, while P and PI
control are considered closed loop control. Usually, in feedback control, the
loop has a process, a transmitter, a controller, and finally, a final control
element which can be either a pump or a valve.

Figure 4: Schematic figure of an Open loop control system

Figure 5: Schematic figure of a closed loop control system

For proportional control the proportional controller follows the equation:


P(t) =

K c e(t)

Where,
P(t) = controller output
Kc = controller gain
And e(t) is the error which is basically the difference between the set point and the measurement
taken by the transmitter. And usually the error is never eliminated fully in proportional control.
Furthermore, to eliminate the error, and integral controller can be used such as the PI
controller. And the proportional controller follows the following equation:


1
p (t ) p K c e(t )
I

e(t )dt
0

APARATUS
The CE117 Process trainer apparatus used in this experiment consist of three main parts:
1. The Experiment Module
2. The Control Module Mimic Panel (Serially connected to a PC)
3. CE2000 Digital Controller (Lite Software) Installed on a PC

The Experiment Module (Figure 6) is a bench-mounting unit that supports all of the
process control hardware of the CE117 on its front panel. This module also contains the power
supplies for each of the devices and circuits of the CE117, as well as the power amplifiers for
the actuators and signal conditioning circuits for the transmitters. The CE117 Process Trainer
includes two separate flow circuits - a Process/Cooler Flow Circuit and a Heater Flow Circuit.
The Control Module provides access to all of the actuator and transmitter circuits
contained in the Experimental Module. It also provides the interface between the CE117
Process Trainer and the PC for up to 4 channels of analogue-to-digital conversion (AD) and
eight channels of digital-to-analogue conversion (DA).

Figure 6: The experiment module

Process/Cooler Flow Circuit


The Process/Cooler Flow Circuit includes:
A Process Vessel with a Drain Valve, an Air Vent and a scale
A Reservoir
A variable speed d.c. motor driven pump (Pump 2)
A Cooler comprising a radiator and a variable speed fan
A servo-controlled Proportional Valve
A Process Loop Bypass Valve
All these parts are shown in figure (7).
Heater Flow Circuit
The Heater Flow Circuit comprises:
- A Heater Tank

- A Heat Exchanger Coil mounted in the base of the Process Vessel


- A variable speed D.C. motor driven pump (Pump 1)

Figure 7: The Process/Cooler Flow Circuit

EXPERIMENTAL PRCOEDURE
Prior to beginning the experiment ensure that there is enough water available for
circulation through the pump in order to avoid any damage. After that start the CE2000 software
and load file exp4-1.ict. Then fully open the process vessel drain valve and the air vent.

a) Open loop level step response test:


1. Make the appropriate connections on the CE117 mimic panel.
2. Set the Pump 2 switch to External.

Figure 8: Open loop mimic panel connections

3. On the software set the Pump 2 voltage to 2 V and the Valve to 10 V (fully open).
4. Allow the system to stabilize and then make a note of the height of the water in the
process vessel.
5. Conduct the same steps for Pump 2 values of 3 V and 5 V and at every perturbation
provide enough time for the system to stabilize.
6. Record the heights at these values.

b) Closed-loop proportional and proportional/integral


gain control:
1. Load file exp4-2.ict and make the appropriate connections on the CE117 mimic panel as
illustrated below.

Figure 9: Closed Loop Mimic Panel Connections

2. Set the Pump 2 switch to External.


3. For the purpose of the proportional only control, set the integral and derivative gain to
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

zero and the proportional gain to 5.


The set point and the valve voltage are set to 5 V and 8 V respectively.
Allow the system to stabilize and take a screenshot of the response.
Conduct the same steps for P values of 8, 10 15 and 20.
With same mimic module connections conduct the runs for PI control.
Keep the proportional gain constant at 12 and only change the integral gain to isolate its

effect.
9. The set point and valve voltage are kept constant at 5 V and 10 V respectively.
10. Change the integral gain to 8 and allow the system to stabilize before taking a screenshot
of the response.
11. Conduct the same steps for Ki values of 8, 5, 7, 1 and 3

c) ON/OFF control:
1. Load file 'exp4-3.ict'.
2. Open the process vessel drain valve to approximately 45 .
3. Connect the mimic panel as illustrated below

Figure 10: On/Off Mimic Panel Connections

4. The relay block in the software tums the proportional valve fully on and fully off, so that
it acts like a standard solenoid valve.
5. On the software, the 'P' block is a simple gain device for the relay control voltage. Set the
blocks to:
Proportional gain - l
Pump Voltage - 5 V
Setpoint - 6 V
Set the relay to Switch on at 0.5 V with a Hysteresis of 1 V
6. Run the software. Wait for the level to stabilize into a simple oscillation and then take a
screenshot.
7. Conduct the same steps for proportional gain values of 5, 9, 4 and 7.

RESULTS AND OBSERVATION


1) Open loop:

In the figure above, open loop control was used, where the outlet valve
was fully open and for a step the step change. It can be seen that the level
was stabilizing but it took a very long time, almost 550 seconds. And the
pump was pumping at a constant flow rate.

2) Closed Loop Proportional Control:

Mohammed Alibasha (39530):


Kp = 5

In the figure above, proportional only control was used and the gain Kp was
set to 5.0 V. It can be seen that the level never reaches the set point, and
with that specific value of Kp the response took around 5 or 10 seconds
which is quick.

Ahmad Kaki (41179):


Kp = 8

The
pump was set to a value of 5 V which is our set point, the green line in the

figure above. The proportional gain was set to a value of 8. After running the
program, the blue line which indicates the flow rate or our system output to
the vessel starts from a value of 2.1 V then it increases to value of 3.9 V. For
a while, the flow rate remains constant then it increases twice to 4.5 V and
5.1 V respectively. The level in the tank which is the rad line in the figure
above, starts from a value of 4.5 V, then it remains constant for a moment
before it decreases to a value of 4.1 V. It keeps constant for a longer time
and then it increases gradually to reach a steady state value of 4.5 V.

Fahmida Anwar (39982):


Kp = 10

Keeping the set point at a value of 5 V, for this stage of the experiment, the
proportional gain was raised from a value of 8 to 10. The resultant plot is shown above. If the
proportional gain is set high it causes the system to fluctuate very fast making it unsteady and
that is what one observes. Upon close examination of this plot we see the output (the blue line) is

dense with fluctuations compared to little or minor fluctuations observed at a proportional gain
of 8. Moreover the level in the tank increased as indicated by the level transmitter line (the red
LT line) from 4.520 V to 4.605 V which is closer to the set point (5 V).

Anisul Karim (44246):


Kp = 15

As the proportinal gain is raised from a value of 10 to 15, it is observed that the the level
transmitter moves from 4.605 V to 4.740 V. This is indicative that the lever of the water in the
system stabilizes more towards the set point of 5 V. However, if observation is made on the
output signal it has a higher peak indicative of higher pumping power and the signal is a bit
more dense compared to the signal at proportional gain of 10.

Mahren Masud (38975):


Kp = 20

The proportional gain was set to 20.0 V and the setpoint at 5.0 V in an
open loop. According the Figure, it is observed that when the proportional
gain was increased to 20.0 V from 15.0 V the response became faster and
more oscillatory. It can also be noted that the offset error (0.195) reduced
with increased proportional gain compared to when the proportional gain was
set at 15.0 V however not completely eliminated.

3) Closed Loop Proportional & Integral Control:

Mohammed Alibasha (39530):


Ki = 8

In the figure above, PI control was used with the value of Kp set to 12
and the value of Ki set to 8. From the figure it can be seen that the level
keeps fluctuating and the pump outlet is very unstable. However, a closer
look shows that the fluctuations in the level decrease but in a very slow
manner. This shows that this setting for the controller causes an unstable
response and the set point can only be reached after a very long time which
wouldnt be feasible or logical to apply in the field. A reduction in Kc would
be recommended in such situations.

Fahmida Anwar (39982):


Ki = 5

The proportional gain is kept constant at a value of 12 throughout the duration of


the PI part of the experiment. This is done in order to isolate the effect of the integral
control on the system. For this stage the integral gain is decreased from a previous value
of 8 to 5. As seen in the generated plot above the system stabilizes from the erratic
behavior seen at an integral gain on 8. The pump output (blue line) stabilizes along with
the level transmitter line (red line), which stops fluctuating from the set point (5 V).

Anisul Karim (44246):


Ki = 7

With the proportinal gain at a constant value of 12, the Intergral contant is increased from 5 to 7.
It can be observed that since the system was already in stable format at the integral contant of 5,

the change in the Integral constant had no effect. The system was then shut down manually
which caused water to accumulate in the vessel. Once the system was turned back on, instability
was introduced and the system remained unstable with fluctuations in water level (red line) and
output singal (blue lines).

Mahren Masud (38975):


Ki = 1

The proportional gain was set at 12.0 V the set point at 5.0 V and
integral gain was set at 1.0 V in a closed loop. As shown in the Figure, the
irregular oscillations (blue line) were due to the system being disturbed twice
by closing the valve then immediately fully opening the valve. After
disturbing the system, it is seen that the level of the tank (red line) met the
set point (green line) at a shorter period of time. The process reached steady
state earlier with a smaller integral gain. Not to mention, the offset error is
eliminated by employing integral action.

Ahmad Kaki (41179):


Ki = 3

In

this

time the proportional gain Kp was kept at 12 V, but the integral gain was
changed to a value of 3 V. After running the program, the level in the vessel,
the red line, suffers from short oscillations before it reaches our set point, 5
V. Also, looking at the blue line which refers to the flow rate to the vessel or
our system output, the pumps oscillates between on, off and some values
between to adjust the flow rate in the vessel due to disturbances until the
error is eliminated and the level reaches its steady state value.

4) On/Off Control:

Ahmad Kaki (41179):


Kp=1

In this type of control, our set point was set to be 6 V and we adjust a
value of 1 V for the Kp. We have noticed that the valve, red line, works
between on, 5 V, and off, 0 V. However, the interval the valve it takes to
switch from on to off consumes some time. Also, the level in the tank, the
blue line, is behaving in a slow matter.

Mahren Masud (38975):


Kp= 5

The proportional gain was set at 5.0 V and the setpoint at 6.0 V in a
closed loop. By increasing the proportional gain from 1.0 to 5.0V, it resulted
in more ocillations (blue line) and sped up the response. In the Figure, the
valve (red line) starts at 6.0V which is the setpoint then drops down to 0.0 V
since the pump turned off and as it turned back on again, the red line went
back to 6.0 V. The offset error (0.125) reduced with a higher proportional
gain compared to when the proportional gain was set at 1.0 V.

Fahmida Anwar (39982):


Kp= 9.0

The settings were all kept constant and the only change was made to the proportional
gain from a value of 5 to 9. Once the system resumed normal oscillations between the ON/OFF
cycles, it was observed that the intervals between the cycles had decreased, as illustrated by the

width of the red line (labelled Valve). Moreover the fluctuations of the blue line, indicating the
level (level transmitter) also showed lower fluctuations.

Anisul Karim (44246):


Kp=4

With all the settings constant, the proportional gain was reduced from 9 to 4. The interval
between the ON/OFF cycles (red line) has reduced which is indicated by the width between the
red lines in the graph. In addition the blue lines have a bit higher fluctuation which is indicative
of the level transmitter showing more fluctuation.

Mohammed Alibasha (39530):

Kp=7

DISCUSSION
Im not sure what to write here, but if anyone knows, inform me I can write it.

CONCLUSION
This experiment provided a clear understanding of manual on/off,
proportional (P) and proportional-integral (PI) controllers using open and
closed loop systems and it illustrated different methods of level control for
the process vessel. The results illustrated that increasing the proportional
gain (KP) reduces the offset and speeds up the response however, it becomes
more sensitive to changes which creates an oscillatory response and a high
integral action (KI) requires more time for the process to reach the desired
setpoint. Moreover, it was observed that an offset error was always present
in the proportional control loop even when altering the proportional gain, the
error remained present. However, the proportional-integral control loop
eliminated the offset error.

REFERENCES
Lab Handout. (2015). American University of Sharjah. Level Control Experiment.