Second Order Models

A standard form for a generic second-order model for a stable linear system is given by

$$\tau^2\frac{d^2y}{dt^2} + 2\zeta\tau\frac{dy}{dt} + y = K u$$

where $y$ and $u$ are deviation variables. The parameters have a generic interpretation that are commonly used to describe the qualitative characteristics of these systems.

Parameter Units Description
$K$ $\frac{\mbox{units of } y}{\mbox{units of }u}$ Steady State Gain
$\tau \gt 0$ time Time Constant
$\zeta \geq 0$ dimensionless Damping Factor

The standard form assumes that a zero input (i.e, $u(t) = 0$) results in a zero response ($y(t) = 0$). In practice, the nominal or quiescent value of $y$ or $u$ may different from zero. In that case we would write

$$\tau^2\frac{d^2y}{dt^2} + 2\zeta\tau\frac{dy}{dt} + y - y_{ref} = K\left(u(t) - u_{ref}\right)$$

where $u_{ref}$ and $y_{ref}$ represent constant reference values.

Step Response

The step response corresponds to a system that is initially at steady-state where $u = u_{ref}$ and $y = y_{ref}$. At time $t=0$ the input is incremented by a constant value U, i.e. $u = u_{ref} + U$ for $t \geq 0$. The subsequent response $y(t) - y_{ref}$ is the step response.

Second order linear systems have elegant analytical solutions expressed using exponential and trignometric functions. There are four distinct cases that depend on the value of the damping factor $\zeta$:

  • Overdamped
  • Critically damped
  • Underdamped
  • Undamped Oscillations

Overdamped ($\zeta > 1$)

An overdamped response tends to be sluggish, and with a potentially a large difference in time scales $\tau_1$ and $\tau_2$. The geometric mean of $\tau_1$ and $\tau_2$ is $\tau$. The value of $\zeta$ determines the differences.

$$y(t) = y_{ref} + KU\left(1 - \frac{\tau_1e^{-t/\tau_1} - \tau_2e^{-t/\tau_2}}{\tau_1 - \tau_2}\right)$$

where $\tau_1$ and $\tau_2$ are found by factor the polynomial

$$\tau^2s^2 + 2\zeta\tau s + 1 = (\tau_1s + 1)(\tau_2s + 1)$$

For $\zeta \geq 1$ the solutions are given by

\begin{align} \tau_1 & = \frac{\tau}{\zeta - \sqrt{\zeta^2-1}} \\ \tau_2 & = \frac{\tau}{\zeta + \sqrt{\zeta^2-1}} \end{align}

In [132]:
%matplotlib inline
import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
from ipywidgets import interact
In [134]:
def overdamped(K, tau, zeta):
    t = np.linspace(0,20)
    tau_1 = tau/(zeta - np.sqrt(zeta**2 - 1))
    tau_2 = tau/(zeta + np.sqrt(zeta**2 - 1))

    y = K*(1 - ((tau_1*np.exp(-t/tau_1) - tau_2*np.exp(-t/tau_2))/(tau_1 - tau_2)))
interact(overdamped, K=(0.5,2), tau=(0.5,2), zeta=(1.01,2));

Critically Damped ($\zeta = 1$)

$$y(t) = y_{ref} + KU\left[1 - \left(1 + \frac{t}{\tau}\right)e^{-t/\tau}\right]$$

In [135]:
def criticallydamped(K, tau):
    t = np.linspace(0,20)
    y = K*(1 - (1 + t/tau)*np.exp(-t/tau))
criticallydamped(K=2, tau=2)

Underdamped ($0 \lt \zeta \lt 1$)

One version of the solution can be written

$$y(t) = y_{ref} + KU\left(1 - e^{-\zeta t/\tau}\left[\cos\left(\frac{\sqrt{1-\zeta^2}}{\tau}t\right) + \frac{\zeta}{\sqrt{1-\zeta^2}}\sin\left(\frac{\sqrt{1-\zeta^2}}{\tau}t\right)\right] \right)$$

This can be expressed a bit more compactly by introducing a frequency

$$\omega = \frac{\sqrt{1-\zeta^2}}{\tau}$$

which results in

$$y(t) = y_{ref} + KU\left[1 - e^{-\zeta t/\tau}\left(\cos\left(\omega t\right) + \frac{\zeta}{\sqrt{1-\zeta^2}}\,\sin\left(\omega t\right) \right)\right]$$

In [125]:
def underdamped(K, tau, zeta):
    t = np.linspace(0,20)
    c = np.cos(np.sqrt(1-zeta**2)*t/tau)
    s = np.sin(np.sqrt(1-zeta**2)*t/tau)
    y = K*(1 - np.exp(-zeta*t/tau)*(c + zeta*s/np.sqrt(1-zeta**2)))
interact(underdamped, K=(0.5,3), tau=(0.5,3), zeta=(0,0.999))
<function __main__.underdamped>

Undamped ($\zeta = 0$)

Finally, there is the special case of an undamped oscillation

$$y(t) = y_{ref} + KU\left[1 - \cos\left(\omega t\right) \right]$$

where $\omega = 1/\tau$.


A second-order differential equation can be simulated as a system of two first order differential equations. The key is to introduce a new variable $v = \frac{dy}{dt}$.

$$\begin{align*} \frac{dy}{dt} & = v \\ \frac{dv}{dt} & = -\frac{1}{\tau^2}(y-y_{ref}) - \frac{2\zeta}{\tau}v + K\left(u(t)-u_{ref}\right) \end{align*}$$

In [136]:
%matplotlib inline
import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
from scipy.integrate import odeint
from ipywidgets import interact

def simulation(yref=0, U=1, K=1, tau=1, zeta=0.2):

    def deriv(X,t):
        y,v = X
        ydot = v
        vdot = -(y-yref)/tau/tau - 2*zeta*v/tau + K*U/tau/tau

    # simulation  
    t = np.linspace(0,20*tau,1000)
    y = odeint(deriv, [yref,0], t)[:,0]
    # plot steady state line and bounds

    # plot solution
    plt.title('Step Response of a Second Order System')
    # plot limits
    dy = np.diff(plt.ylim())
    # arrow props
    ap1 = dict(arrowstyle="->")
    ap2 = dict(arrowstyle="<->")

    if zeta < 1:
        os = np.exp(-np.pi*zeta/np.sqrt(1-zeta**2))
        # time to first peak
        tp = np.pi*tau/np.sqrt(1-zeta**2)
        yp = (1+os)*K*U + yref
        plt.text(tp,yp+0.02*dy,"Overshoot\n b/a = {0:0.2f}".format(os), ha='center')
        plt.text(tp,(K*U+yref+yp)/2,' b')
        plt.text(tp,K*U/2+yref,' a')
        plt.annotate("Time to first\n peak = {0:.2f}".format(tp),
                    xy=(tp,yref), xytext=(1.2*tp,0.2*K*U+yref),arrowprops=ap1)

        # rise time
        tr = t[np.where(np.diff(np.sign(y-yref-K*U))*np.sign(K*U)>0)[0][0]]
        if tr < plt.xlim()[1]:
                    'Rise Time\n = {0:.2f}'.format(tr),ha='center')
        # period
        P = 2*np.pi*tau/np.sqrt(1-zeta**2)
        if tr + P < plt.xlim()[1]:
            plt.text(tr+P/2,0.42*K*U+yref+0.02*dy,'Period = {0:.2f}'.format(P), ha='center')
        # second peak
        if tp + P < plt.xlim()[1]:
            plt.text(tp+P,K*U*(1+os**3/2)+yref,' c')
                    'Decay Ratio\n c/b = {0:.2f}'.format(os**2),va='bottom',ha='center')
        # settling time
        ts = -np.log(0.05)*np.sqrt(1-zeta**2)*tau/zeta
        if ts < plt.xlim()[1]:
                     'Settling Time\n = {0:.2f}'.format(ts),ha='center')

interact(simulation, yref = (-10,10,0.1), U=(0.01,5,0.01), 
         K = (-5,5,0.01), zeta=(0.01,3,0.01), tau = (0.1,5.0,0.01));

Performance Indicators for Underdamped Systems

For an underdamped second order system, the desired performance metrics are given by the following by formulas in the following table.

Quantity Symbol Expression/Value
Rise Time $t_r$ Time to first SS crossing
Time to first peak $t_p$ $\frac{\pi\tau}{\sqrt{1-\zeta^2}}$
Overshoot OS $\exp\left(-\frac{\pi\zeta}{\sqrt{1-\zeta^2}}\right)$
Decay Ratio DR $\exp\left(-\frac{2\pi\zeta}{\sqrt{1-\zeta^2}}\right)$
Period $\frac{2\pi\tau}{\sqrt{1-\zeta^2}}$
Setting Time $t_s$ Time to +/- 5% of SS

Estimating Parameters for an Underdamped System

Starting with a Physical Model

A dynamical model for a u-tube manometer is given by

$$\frac{d^2h'}{dt^2} + \frac{6\mu}{R^2\rho}\frac{dh'}{dt} + \frac{3}{2}\frac{g}{L} h' = \frac{3}{4\rho L} p'(t)$$

where $h'$ is the liquid level displacement from an equilibrium position due to a pressure difference $p'(t)$.

Parameter Symbol
radius $R$
liquid length $L$
gravity $g$
density $\rho$
viscosity $\mu$

What is the gain $K$? Time constant $\tau$? Damping factor $\zeta$? How would choose the radius for the fastest response without overshoot?

Starting with a Step Response

Underdamped systems have clearly identifiable and measureable characteristics that can be used to identify parameters $K$, $\tau$, and $\zeta$. One procedure, for example, is to execute a step response experiment. Then,

  1. Measure overshoot, then estimate damping factor $\zeta$ using a chart of of this equation (or by directly solving the equation for $\zeta$): $$OS = \frac{a}{b} = \exp\left(\frac{-\pi\zeta}{\sqrt{1-\zeta^2}}\right)$$
  2. Measure time-to-first-peak $t_p$. Given $t_p$ and $\zeta$, solve for $$\tau = \frac{t_p}{\pi}\sqrt{1 - \zeta^2}$$ Alternatively, given period $P$, $$\tau = \frac{P}{2\pi}\sqrt{1 - \zeta^2}$$

In [139]:
%matplotlib inline
import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
from scipy.integrate import odeint

zeta = np.linspace(0,0.999,100)
os = np.exp(-np.pi*zeta/np.sqrt(1-zeta**2))
dr = np.exp(-2*np.pi*zeta/np.sqrt(1-zeta**2))
pd = np.sqrt(1-zeta**2)

plt.plot(zeta, os, lw=3)
plt.plot(zeta, dr, lw=3)
plt.plot(zeta, pd, lw=3)
plt.xlim(0, 1)
plt.ylim(0, 1)
plt.title('Performance Characteristics of Underdamped Second Order Systems')
plt.ylabel('Performance Characteristic')
plt.text(0.35, 0.4, 'Overshoot')
plt.text(0.05, 0.2, 'Decay Ratio')
plt.text(0.70, 0.8, 'Natural Period / Period')
plt.gca().set_xticks(np.arange(0,1,0.1), minor=True)
plt.gca().set_yticks(np.arange(0,1,0.1), minor=True)
plt.grid(b=True, which='major')
plt.grid(b=True, which='minor')