Rig: Coupled Tanks

Version 1.00
Electrical Engineering,
Chemical Engineering,
Industrial Engineering,

This rig has been replaced by version 2.00. The rig is ideal for introducing students to the design, optimisation and application of common controllers, system modelling using static and transient measurements; steady state error analysis, transient response studies and controller tuning methods.

The rig consists of two linked, vertical tanks mounted above a water reservoir. A pump with a controllable flow rate supplies water to the first tank, and a baffle plate regulates the amount of fluid than can flow onwards into the second tank (coupling). The second tank is fitted with an outlet near the base, so that the water is slowly draining back into the storage reservoir. Students can investigate how a change of the flow rate affects the water level in each tank, model the system parameters and apply various control algorithms, for example by using their own P, PI, and PID parameters. Two web cameras capture live images and videos of the tanks, and students interact with the apparatus through a LabView user interface. Students can also view real-time diagrams of flow rate, water levels and set point from their web browser and download all measurements for post-processing.