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Teaching Dynamics and Control with Arduino Based TCLab

The small, inexpensive, and take-home temperature control lab (TCLab) reinforces process dynamics and control theory with real data. A 2015 NSF-sponsored report “Chemical Engineering Academia-Industry Alignment: Expectations about New Graduates” identifies a strong industrial need for practical understanding of process control and system dynamics. Industry feedback also suggests more focus is needed on translating process control theory into practice. At many universities, this need is met by integrating laboratory experiences into the process control course. In-person laboratory resources are difficult to schedule and manage, especially with COVID-19 restrictions. The TCLab hardware consists of an Arduino® shield that fits onto a standard Arduino Leonardo or UNO microcontroller. This talk highlights a few examples of how the TCLab can be interfaced with and run from MATLAB® live scripts and from Simulink®. The TCLab module demonstrates many process control modalities such as SISO, MIMO, and cascade control. Students implement the control modalities by coding control algorithms including relay, PID, and model predictive control. The lab is integrated at various points in the process dynamics and control course to reinforce theory with a practical application.

Check out the following resources for more information: Arduino support from MATLAB and Simulink: PID Tuner to automatically tune PID controllers: Interactive Live Scripts:

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