Rig: Coupled Tanks - Generation II

Version 2.00 (latest version)
Electrical Engineering,
Chemical Engineering,
Industrial Engineering,

This rig was designed to allow students to develop a simplified mathematical model of the underlying dynamics of a coupled tank system. Students are also able to apply control theory to test the response and tune different kinds of controllers in real-time.

The Coupled Tanks Generation II rig significantly improves upon the previous Coupled Tanks rig. The rig consists of two tanks and a reservoir - with the tanks being coupled together hydraulically.

Flow rates are primarily adjusted by stepper-motor actuated proportional control valves. The stepper motor controller uses micro-stepping to increase the step resolution, giving the user extremely fine control over the desired flow rate into the tank(s).

The pumps are advanced units with PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation) control and RPM monitoring inbuilt - offering additional flow control options to the user.

Flow rates are monitored by inline impeller-type flow meters at each tank inlet, outlet and tank coupling.

Water levels are monitored by magnetostrictive sensors and magnetic floats. All inputs & outputs (I/O) are either digital or current based, reducing the amount of noise and signal degradation in the rig.

Students interact with the rig through a LabView user interface, displaying real-time water levels, flow rates and valve positions.

All data is able to be logged and downloaded by the user as a tab-delimited text file. Additionally, the rig is monitored by a web camera, giving students real-time video of the system in action.