Heat Flow Experiment

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A Great System for Studying Simple Dynamics

The Quanser Heat Flow is a process control plant ideal for teaching, studying and demonstrating control concepts related to fluid dynamics and thermodynamics. Using the Heat Flow experiment, students learn how to:

  • derive a first-order transfer function model of the system using the bump test method
  • implement an on-off scheme using a relay switch to control the temperature
  • design a proportional-integral controller to regulate the temperature using process control related strategies such as set-point weight and anti-windup

In addition to teaching control concepts, the Heat Flow can be used for research in various areas, including adaptive control and system identification.

How It Works

The Quanser Heat Flow plant consist of a fiberglass chamber that is equipped with a coil-based heater and a blower at one end and three temperature sensors located equidistantly along the chamber.

The Heat Flow has a built-in amplifier to deliver power to the heater and blower. The power delivered to the heater and blower is controlled using analog signals. The fan speed can also be controlled using an analog signal, and is measured by a tachometer mounted on the blower.

The three temperature sensors in the chamber are fast settling platinum transducers.

Quanser-developed Courseware Included

The Heat Flow comes with Quanser-developed courseware. The Instructor Manual with exercises, together with a comprehensive User Manual and pre-designed controllers allow you to get your lab running faster, saving months of time typically required to develop lab materials.

  • Fast settling platinum temperature transducers to measure the chamber air temperature
  • Tachometer for measuring angular rate of the blower fan
  • Coil-based heater
  • Solid Plexiglas chamber
  • Fully documented system models and parameters provided for MATLAB®, Simulink® and Maple™
  • Fully compatible with MATLAB®/Simulink®
  • Open architecture design, allowing users to design their own controller
Device dimensions (L x H x W) 50 cm x 15 cm x 10 cm
Device mass 0.5 kg
Cross sectional chamber area 0.0064 m²
Blower nominal input voltage 6 V
Blower nominal airflow 1.02 m³/min
Maximum wind speed 159.4 m/min
Blower maximum speed 2700 RPM
Tachometer calibration gain 1064 RPM/V
Heater maximum power (at 5 V) 400 W
Temperature sensor calibration gain 20 °C/V
Temperature sensor settling time 4 s

Topics included in the Quanser-developed courseware:

  • Experimental modeling – step response
  • Transfer function representation
  • Model validation
  • PID control
  • Set-point weighting
  • Integrator windup
  • Feed-forward
The Heat Flow can be also used to teach other topics that are not included in the Quanser-developed courseware.

To set up your Heat Flow workstation, you need additional components. Quanser engineers recommend:

for MATLAB®/Simulink® users  
1x Q8-USB data acquisition device¹  
QUARC real-time control software  

¹ alternatively, you can use QPIDe, or any equivalent NI DAQ device supported by QUARC

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