Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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AEM 4321: Automatic Control Systems

Catalog Description



AEM 4321

Automatic Control Systems

3 Credits


Catalog Description:


Modeling, characteristics, and performance of feedback control systems. Stability, root locus, frequency response methods. Nyquist/Bode diagrams. Lead-lag, PID compensators. Digital implementation, hardware considerations.


Course Web Address:


Prerequisites by Topic:


  1. AEM 3101: Mathematical Modeling and Simulation in Aerospace Engineering (concurrent allowed)




Optional: Modern Control Engineering, 5th Edition, Author: K. Ogata, 2009, Prentice Hall, ISBN: 9780136156734


Format of Course:


3 hours of lecture per week


Computer Usage:




Course Objectives:


Develop an understanding of the elements of classical control theory as applied to the control of aircraft and spacecraft. In particular understand: the concept of feedback and its properties; the concept of stability and stability margins; and the different tools that can be used to analyze the previous properties. Finally gain a working knowledge of the basic linear design techniques, in particular as applied to spacecraft and aircraft.


Course Outcomes:


Students who successfully complete the course will demonstrate the following outcomes by tests, homework, and laboratory work.


  1. An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering.
  2. An ability to use the analysis and design tools of classical linear control in simplified homework problems.
  3. An ability to use modern computer tools such as MatLab and web-based tutoring tools.


Relationship of course to program objectives:


This course provides a detailed understanding of classical control theory with aerospace applications. It introduces essential tools and problem solving techniques for students going into aerospace controls and helps produce graduates who can apply their knowledge to achieve success in industry and/or in graduate level work.


Relationship of course to program outcomes:


This course provides the following outcomes:


1.      Apply mathematics

2.      System Design

3.      Identify engineering problems

4.      Engineering Tools

5.      Stability and control


Course Outline:


(Hrs, approx.)



Motivation for control. Review of differential equations, linear systems, impulse response and Laplace transformations. Definition of stability. Introduction to state equations and transfer functions.


Stability and performance specifications. Interpretation of poles and zeros of transfer functions. Time domain response of second order system. Command tracking and system type. Rough/Hurwitz test.


Frequency response and frequency domain methods. Nyquist stability test. Bode plots. Phase and gain margins. Bode phase formula. Lead/lag compensation


Robustness. Uncertainty and performance weights. Robust stability test. Robust performance test. Loop shaping necessary and sufficient conditions. Bode integral formula. PID controllers.


Root locus technique.


State space techniques. Introduction to multivariable control.


Outcome Measurement:


Accomplished through homework, periodic exams and a final exam.


Student Survey Questions:


This course improved my ability to do the following:


1.      Apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering.

2.      Design a system, component or process to meet desired needs.

3.      Identify, formulate and solve engineering problems..

4.      Use the modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.


Please answer the following questions regarding the course:


5.      The textbook was clearly written and appropriate for the course.

6.      The homework helped me understand the concepts presented in the course.

7.      The tests were appropriate in length and content.

8.      The level of work required for this course was appropriate for the credit given.


In this course, I acquired the following:


9.      Knowledge of stability and control.

10.  A basic knowledge of control applied to aerospace systems.

11.  A knowledge and basic ability to use MatLab.


Last modified:





Last Modified: 2008-10-22 at 12:38:40 -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation