Robust Control Design of Gain-scheduled Controllers for Nonlinear Processes
In the chemical or biochemical industry most processes are modeled by nonlinear equations. It is of a great significance to design high-performance nonlinear controllers for efficient control of these nonlinear processes to achieve closed-loop system's stability and high performance. However, there are many difficulties which hinder the design of such controllers due mainly to the process nonlinearity. In this work, comprehensive design procedures based on robust control have been proposed to efficiently deal with the design of gain-scheduled controllers for nonlinear systems. Since all the design procedures proposed in this work rely strongly on the process model, the first difficulty addressed in this thesis is the identification of a relatively simple model of the nonlinear processes under study. The nonlinearity of the processes makes it often difficult to obtain a first-principles model which can be used for analysis and design of the controller. As a result, relatively simple empirical models, Volterra series model and state-affine model, are chosen in this work to represent the nonlinear process for the design of controllers. The second major difficulty is that although the nonlinear models used in this thesis are easy to identify, the analysis of stability and performance for such models using nonlinear control theory is not straightforward. Instead, it is proposed in this study to investigate the stability and performance using a robust control approach. In this approach, the nonlinear model is approximated by a nominal linear model combined with a mathematical description of model error to be referred to, in this work, as model uncertainty. In the current work it was assumed that the main source of uncertainty with respect to the nominal linear model is due to the system nonlinearity. Then, in this study, robust control theoretical tools have been especially developed and applied for the design of gain-scheduled Proportional-Integral (PI) control and gain-scheduled Model Predictive Control (MPC). Gain-scheduled controllers are chosen because for nonlinear processes operated over a wide range of operation, gain-scheduling has proven to be a successful control design technique (Bequette, 1997) for nonlinear processes. To guarantee the closed-loop system's robust stability and performance with the designed controllers, a systematic approach has been proposed for the design of robust gain-scheduled controllers for nonlinear processes. The design procedure is based on robust stability and performance conditions proposed in this work. For time-varying uncertain parameters, robust stability and performance conditions using fixed Lyapunov functions and parameter-dependent Lyapunov functions, were used. Then, comprehensive procedures for the design and optimization of robust gain-scheduled PI and MPC controllers tuning parameters based on the robust stability and performance tests are then proposed. Since the closed-loop system represented by the combination of a state-affine process model and the gain-scheduled controller is found to have an affine dependence on the uncertain parameters, robust stability and performance conditions can be tested by a finite number of Linear Matrix Inequalities (LMIs). Thus, the final problems are numerically solvable. One of the inherent problems with robust control is that the design is conservative. Two approaches have been proposed in this work to reduce the conservatism. The first one is based on parameter-dependent Lyapunov functions, and it is applied when the rate of change of the time-varying uncertainty parameters is <i>a priori</i> available. The second one is based on the relaxation of an input-saturation factor defined in the thesis to deal with the issue of actuator saturation. Finally, to illustrate the techniques discussed in the thesis, robust gain-scheduled PI and MPC controllers are designed for a continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR) process. A simple MIMO example with two inputs and two outputs controlled by a multivariable gain-scheduled MPC controller is also discussed to illustrate the applicability of the methods to multivariable situations. All the designed controllers are simulated and the simulations show that the proposed design procedures are efficient in designing and comparing robust gain-scheduled controllers for nonlinear processes.