Module Descriptor

MECH3005 Automatic Control

Code MECH3005
Alt. Code(s)
Title Automatic Control
Level 3
UCL Credits/ECTs 0.5 / 7.5
Start September
End June
Taught by
Dr Ben Hanson (100%) Module Coordinator
  Dr Andrea Ducci


Mathematics to second year undergraduate level to include significant experience of complex number theory including their representation of sinusoids. Linear 1st and 2nd order ordinary differential equations; their forms and solutions, including forcing function inputs.

MECH2006 or equivalent instruction or experience in dynamics and modelling of linear systems.

Course Aims

Provide students with instruction and experience in the following:

  • Developing simplified (linear) models of real-world systems
  • Analysing the performance of systems in the time domain and frequency domain
  • Designing controllers to improve and/or stabilise the performance of systems

Method of Instruction

One-hour sessions twice-weekly through term time comprising lectures, tutorial (examples) classes, and computer-based laboratory sessions.


The course has the following assessment components:

  • Written Examination (3 hours, 75%)

The examination rubric is: Answer 5 questions (from 8 offered), all questions carry equal weight.

  • Assignments:

1. Remote operation of a servo motor system, via internet-operated laboratory.

2. Matlab-based industrial consultancy case-study: design of vehicle suspension-testing facility.

Two further short assignments (25% combined)

To pass this course, students must:

  • Obtain an overall pass mark of 40% for all sections combined
  • Standard attendance and participation requirements apply.

Recommended Reading

There is no compulsory textbook but the following may be useful for reference:

  • “Art of control Engineering” (1997). Dutton, K., Thompson, S. and Barraclough, B. Pub: Addison-Wesley ISBN 0-201-17545-2.
  • “Schaum's outline of theory and problems of feedback and control systems” (1990). DiStefano III, J.J., Stubberud, A.R. and Williams I.J. Pub: McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0070170479. M.
  • “Modern Control Systems”, R C Dorf and R H Bishop, Prentice Hall, 9th 10th or 11th editions.

Root locus methods.

Frequency response methods, Bode & Nyquist plots.

Compensation using filters.

Discussion of non-linear systems, modern control theory, adaptive, optimal and digital control.

Page last modified on 26 sep 13 15:53