A Virtual Laboratory for System Simulation and Control With Undergraduate Curriculum


COMPUTER APPLICATIONS IN ENGINEERING EDUCATION, vol.24, no.1, pp.122-130, 2016 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 24 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/cae.21678
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.122-130
  • Keywords: virtual control lab, system simulation, control engineering education, interactive educational tool
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


System modelling and simulation are essential in engineering especially in automatic control systems (ACS) engineering. At many universities, undergraduate curricula include systems and control courses with dynamic modelling and simulations in their syllabi. In order to design a controller for a physical system, one has to know the operational behaviors of that system very well so that a proper controller could be designed. Keeping this in mind, educational computer-aided software with a user-friendly visual interface was developed. The software provides an opportunity for students to simulate physical systems without and with the controllers they designed. Since it was developed to accompany undergraduate control system courses, the main purpose of this software was to create an interactive, practical, visual, and functional environment for the students who taking ACS courses. Therefore, it was called as virtual control laboratory (VCL). Basically, the students were able to design and simulate classical proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controllers and fuzzy logic controller (FLC). Besides, any other type of compensator with a transfer function or a state space model can be also combined with the physical system model for simulation and analysis. A laboratory type scope with two input channels was embedded in VCL in order to visually see and analyze the simulation results in the time domain. Responses from the students taking ACS course were also given to evaluate the proposed educational software from students' point of view. (C) 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.