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# The Root Locus Method

Introduction

The performance of a feedback system can be
described in terms of the location of the roots of
the characteristic equation in the s-plane.
It is very useful to determine how the roots of the
characteristic equation move around the s-plane
as we change one parameter.
The root locus method was introduced by Walter
R. Evans in 1948.

Introduction
Root-locus is a graphical technique for sketching
the locus of roots in the s-plane as a parameter is
varied in a given range.

Root-locus

is based on the poles and zeros of
the open-loop transfer function for determining the
poles of the closed-loop transfer function of a
system.

Root Locus Concept
1
s( s  2)

K

The open-loop transfer function:
G( s) 

k
s( s  2)

The characteristic equation
1  G( s)  1 

k
0
s( s  2)

s 2  2s  K  0

roots s1, 2  1  1  K
K  0 s  0 s  2
1
2

are the poles of the open-loop transfer function o f the syst em.

0  K  1 s1 and s2 are two different re al roots.
K  1 s1  s2  1
K 2

are the same real roots.

s1, 2  1  j1

s1 and s2 are a pair of conjug ate comple x roots.
The real section of the roots is constant.

K   s1, 2  1  j The imaginary sectio n of the r oots grow with k increasing.

Root Locus Concept
According to above
discussion: we can
sketch the locus of
the roots varying
with k from
0 to +∞
on the S-plane.

Root Locus Concept
Definition of Root locus:
The root loci is the path of the roots of the
characteristic equation (or the poles of the
system’s closed-loop transfer function), traced
out in the s-plane as a system parameter is
changed.
Root - root of s polynomial equation(the characteristic equation)
Locus - Set of points (roots)

Root Locus Concept
What information can be got from
the root-loci of the system?
(1) when k changes in the range 0
~ +∞, the system is always stable,
because the loci of the closed-loop
poles are always in the left-half of
the s-plane.

(2) When k changes in the range 0～1,
the transient portion of the system response
is exponentia lly damped because of the poles being the real poles. This can be
respected with the case   1 of the second - order system.

Root Locus Concept
(3) When k  1, the transient portion
of the systemresponse is a exponentially
damped sinusoid because of the poles being
the conjugate complex poles. This can be
respected with the case 0  ξ  1 of the second
- order system.

(4) when k  1 the overshoot of the system response will be increased with
k being augmented beause of the poles away from the real axis. And the setting
time will be not varied because of the real section of the poles being constant.

Root Locus Concept

(5) The systemis a typeⅠsystembecause of a open - loop pole s  0 (k  0).
etc. ...
It is obvious that we can get a lot of information from the root - loci of a
system.It is why weuse root - locus to analyze the performance of a system.

Two Basic Criterion
The characteristic equation is

G (s )

1  G( s ) H ( s )  0

H (s )

rearrange the equation, if necessary, so that the parameter of
interest K, appears as the multiplying factor in the form, and
write the polynomial in the form of poles and zeros as follows:
m

G ( s) H ( s)  K 

 (s  z )
i

i 1
n

 (s  p j )

K*: The root-locus gain, which is proportional to
open-loop gain K. Gs H s  

 

 2 T s  1

K  j s  1   l2 s 2  2 l l s  1

s v Ti s  1 Tk2 s 2

k k

j 1

We usually interested in determining the locus of the roots
as K* varies as 0  K   
(For reasons that will become clear later, this is the definition of the positive or 180
degree locus. Will later define the negative, or 0 degree locus.)

Two Basic Criterion
1  G( s ) H ( s )  0

G(s) H (s)  1  j 0

m

G( s) H ( s)  K

 (s  z )
i

i 1
n

 (s  p )

s: a complex variable

j

j 1

Two Basic Criterion
the magnitude and angle requirement
for the root locus are:
m

K

| s  z

i

|
1

i 1
n

| s  p

j

 Magnitude criterion

|

j 1

m

n

 (s  z )   (s  p )  (2k  1)
i 1

i

j 1

j

k  0,  1,  2,   

 Angle criterion

Root Loci Construction Rules
Basic approach: The complete root loci can be constructed
point-by-point finding all points in the s-plane that satisfy the
angle criterion.(usually don’t use this approach directly.)

The rapid sketching procedure of the root locus
shown as follows:
1. The number of separate loci is equal to the
order of the characteristic equation.
Number of loci branches = n
2. The loci are symmetrical about the real axis.
The root locus is symmetrical about the real axis since
the roots of 1+G(s)H(s)=0 must either be real or appear
as complex conjugates.

Root Loci Construction Rules
3. The root loci begin at the open loop poles and
end at open zeros.
(1) The root loci begin at the open loop poles.
m

1 K 

 (s  z )
i

i 1
n

 (s  p )

n

m

 (s  p )  K  (s  z )  0

0

j

i

j 1

i 1

j

j 1

n

 (s  p )  0

K  0

s  p j , j  1,2,n

j

j 1

(2) The root loci end at the open loop zeros.
m

1 K

 ( s  zi )
i 1
n

 (s  p

j

m

 (s  z )
i

0

i 1
n

 (s  p

)

)

1
K

j 1

j 1

K  

j



m

 (s  z )  0
i

i 1

s  zi , i  1,2,m

Root Loci Construction Rules
For the root - loci of n open - loop poles and m open - loop zeros :
n  m  actual physicalsystem

Example Second-order system

poles

K (0.5s  1) K * ( s  2)
G( s) H ( s) 

s(0.25s  1)
s( s  4)

j

-2

-4

zero

0

locate the open-loop poles and zeros in t he s-plane with the symbols :
  pole,

  zero.

Root Loci Construction Rules
4. Root Loci on the Real Axis
The locus covers the section of the real axis
to the left of an odd number of poles and
zeros of G(s)H(s).
m

n

 (s  z )   (s  p )  (2k  1)
i 1

i

j 1

j

s
k  0,  1,  2,   

 Angle criterion

Example Second-order system

poles

j

-2

K (0.5s  1) K * ( s  2)
G( s) H ( s) 

s(0.25s  1)
s( s  4)

-4

zero

0

Root Loci Construction Rules
5. The loci proceed to the zeros at infinity along
asymptotes.

These linear asymptotes are centered at a point on the real
axis given by
n

a 

m

 p z
j 1

j

i 1

i

nm

The angle of the asymptotes with respect to the real axis is
(2k  1)
a 

nm

(k  0,1,, n  m  1)

Root Loci Construction Rules
j

Example: Third-order system

A single-loop feedback control
system has a characteristic
equation follows:

-3

-2

-1

0

K  ( s  2)
1  G( s)  1 
0
s( s  1)(s  3)

(0  1  3)  (2)
a 
 1
3 1

0

90
(k  0)
2k  1

0
a 
180  
0
3 1

270
(k  1)

Root Loci Construction Rules
Sequential Example: A single-loop feedback control system
has a characteristic equation as follows:

K
1  G( s) H ( s)  1 
0
s( s  1)(s  2)

j

The intersection of the asymptotes is
0 1  2
a 
 1
3
The angles of the asymptotes are
600 (k  0)
 0
(2k  1)
0
a 
180  180 (k  1)
3
3000 (k  2)

-2

-1

Root Loci Construction Rules
6. Breakaway points on the root loci.
Breakaway points on the root loci correspond to multipleorder roots of the equation 1+G(s)H(s)=0. The breakaway
point d can be computed by solving
m

n
1
1


i 1 d  zi
j 1 d  p j

Necessary conditions only

It is important to point out that the condition for the breakaway
point given in Eq.(above) is necessary but not sufficient. In
other words, all breakaway points on the root loci must satisfy
Eq.(above), but not all solutions of Eq. are breakaway points.

Root Loci Construction Rules
7. The tangents to the loci at the breakaway points.
In general, due to the phase criterion, the tangents to the
loci at the breakaway point are equally spaced over 3600
Breakaway
point
90

0

450
450

The two loci at the breakaway
point are spaced 180o apart.

The four loci at the breakaway
point are spaced 90o apart.

Root Loci Construction Rules
m

n
1
1

i 1 d  zi
j 1 d  p j

Sequential Example: A single-loop feedback control system
has a characteristic equation as follows:

K
1  G( s) H ( s)  1 
0
s( s  1)(s  2)

here no zeros
j

1
1
1

0
d d 1 d  2
-2

d1  0.42, d 2  1.58

-1

Root Loci Construction Rules
8. Intersection(the crossing points)of the root loci with
the imaginary axis and corresponding values of K*.

Sequential Example:

K
1  G( s) H ( s)  1 
0
s( s  1)(s  2)

The characteristic equation is s 3  3s 2  2s  K   0
To substitute s  j into the characteristic
equation then to solve the value for 

j

 j 3  3 2  2 j  K   0

-2
  3  2  0

2

 3  K  0

imaginary portion
real portion

0

 2

-1

K  0
K  6

With a little practice, you should be able to sketch root loci very rapidly.

Root Loci Construction Rules
Sequential Example:

K
1  G( s) H ( s)  1 
0
s( s  1)(s  2)

The intersection of the asymptotes is
a 

0 1  2
 1
3

The angles of the asymptotes are
600 (k  0)

(2k  1)
a 
1800  1800 (k  1)
3
3000 (k  2)

Breakaway points on the root loci

d1  0.42, d 2  1.58
Intersection of the root loci with the
imaginary axis.
0
K  0


 2 K  6

Root Loci Construction Rules
9. The angles of arrival and departure.
Departure angle

s

( s  pk )

 p  lim ( s  pk )
s  pk

k

pk

m

n

i 1

j 1
j k

 p  (2 K  1)   ( pk  zi )   ( pk  p j )
k

Root Loci Construction Rules
9. The angles of arrival and departure.
Arrival angle

s

 z  lim (s  zk )

(s  zk )

s  zk

k

zk

m

n

i 1
ik

j 1

 z  (2k  1)   ( zk  zi )   ( zk  p j )
k

Root Loci Construction Rules
Example:

K
G( s) H ( s) 
s( s  1  j )(s  i  j )
p1  0 p2  1  j p3  1  j
m

n

i 1

j 1
j k

 p  (2 K  1)   ( pk  zi )   ( pk  p j )
k

j
1

p2

 p  (2k  1)  ( p2  p1 )  ( p2  p3 )
2

 p  (2k  1) 180  135  90
0

0

p1

0

-1

2

 p  450
2

 p  450
3

0
-1

p3

Root Loci Construction Rules
K * ( s  1.5)(s  2  j )
Example: G(s) 
s( s  2.5)(S  0.5  j1.5)

Root Loci Construction Rules
10. The sum of closed loop poles
n

m

1 K 

 (s  z )
i

i 1
n

 (s  p )

(n  m  2)

m

 (s  p )  K  (s  z )  0

j

0

j

j 1

i

j 1

i 1

n

 (s  s )  0
i

i 1

where  p j is the open - loop pole, si is the root of 1  G(s)H (s)  0 .
s n  a1s n1  a2 s n2    an1s  an  0
n

n

a1   si   p j const
i 1

j 1

n

n

s   p
i 1

i

j 1

j

const

If the order of the denominator of the open loop transfer
function is greater than the numerator by at least 2 (n  m  2) ,
then the sum of the closed loop poles is a constant.

Root Loci Construction Rules
Example:

Root Loci Construction Rules
11. Determine the parameter value Kx at any point
Sx on the root loci using the magnitude
requirement.
m

K

| s  z

n

m

i

|
1

i 1
n

| s  p

j

 Magnitude criterion

So K x*

|

| s  z

|

i

1

i 1
n

| s  p

j

K 

|

j 1

j 1

| s  p

j

|

i

|

j 1
m

| s  z
i 1

ss

x

If there is no zeros
K

1

1

n

| s  p
j 1

j

|

 Magnitude criterion

So K

*
x

1

1

n

| s  p

j

|

n

K  | s  p j |

j 1

j 1

In terms of above rules we can rapidly sketch the
root-loci of a control system.

ss

x

Examples
Sketch the root-loci for the following open-loop transfer functions:
(1) G( s ) 

K ( s  2)( s  6)
s ( s  4)

( 2) G ( s ) 

Im

(2)
Re

(4)

( 3) G ( s ) 

K ( s 2  6 s  13)
( 5) G ( s ) 
s ( s  2)

K ( s  2)( s  3)
( 4) G ( s ) 
s( s  1)

(1)

K ( s  2)( s  4)
s ( s  6)

Im

(3)
Re

(5)
Re

Im

( 6) G ( s ) 

Im

K ( s  1)( s  2)
( s 2  6 s  13)

Im
Re

(6)
Re

K ( s  3)
s ( s  2)

Im
Re