Experimental platform for distributed temperature control along a slender metal rod

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The main objective of this project is to design, build and program an experimental platform for distributed control of a temperature profile of a slender metal rod. The one-meter long aluminium rod will be equipped with some twenty heaters (transistors) and temperature sensors (Dallas DS18B20). These will be used to close feedback control loops to track a prescribed temperature profile.

A straightforward (albeit not necessarily optimal) approach to the work is just to upgrade one already existing platform using new hardware (see the list of student projects below).

The electronics for the system is required in a modular form. Each I/O module (of several modules) will serve a few sensors and actuators. One version of the electronics is currently being developed and is nearly ready for production. The student can jump in and have his or her imprint in the last minute. Alternatively, he or she can adopt the design and take care of production.

All the I/O modules will be connected to a single Raspberry Pi 3 (RPi) computer through a digital interface (such as I2C). RPi computer will be connected to an operator's PC running MATLAB. The role of RPi will be to gather the sensor measurements, deliver them to PC and execute control commands received from PC. The communication between the RPi and PC will be over WiFi or Ethernet. Programming of RPi should be done in C and Java programming languages.

The project is offered as a topic for bachelor thesis and master thesis with additional extension to control.

Related student projects in the past:

1.) Chris Rapson. Spatially distributed control: heat conduction in a rod. MSc diploma thesis, CVUT in Prague, 2008. [Online]
2.) Václav Klemš. Laboratorní model pro výzkum prostorově distribuovaného řízení. Bakalářská práce, ČVUT v Praze, 2008. [Online]
3.) Petr Cincibus. Programové vybavení pro experimentální platformu pro distribuované řízení teploty. Bakalářská práce, ČVUT v Praze, 2012. [Online]

Contact person: 
Štefan Knotek
Image: Aluminium rod patterned with an array of heaters and temperature sensors