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Nonlinear Control Systems

Assignment 1

Submitted by:
Muhammad Arsalan
Roll No: 118699
Submitted to:
Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad Rana

Nonlinear Systems
All the existing real world systems are nonlinear in nature. Nonlinear systems are those systems,
whose differential equations involve at least one higher order polynomial term, regarded as
nonlinearity, in it. These are the systems, which do not satisfy the superposition principle.

Why Nonlinear Systems?

Analysis tools for the Linear Systems are based on the superposition principle. All the linear
systems satisfy the superposition property which is stated as:
Since, the superposition principle does not hold for the nonlinear systems, hence, the analysis
tools for such systems involve much advanced mathematics. The very first step to predict the
nonlinear system behavior is indeed to linearize it. It can give a good guess regarding the
behavior of the overall nonlinear system. Still this knowledge is not sufficient to explain the
exact behavior. But the theory of linearization is well established and applied, so why do we
need to study the nonlinear system theory? The answer to this question can be explained by
throwing some light on the two basic limitations of linearization. These are:
1) Linearization is an approximation in the neighborhood of an operating point; hence, if we
linearize a nonlinear system, then this linearization can only predict the local behavior of
it in the vicinity of that point. It cannot predict the non-local behavior far from the
operating point and certainly not the global behavior throughout the state space.
2) Secondly, the dynamics of a nonlinear system are much richer than the dynamics of a
linear system. These are essentially nonlinear phenomenon that can take place only in the
presence of nonlinearity. These phenomenon cannot be described or predicted by linear
system models.
The following Nonlinear phenomenon can occur in a nonlinear system:
1) Multiple Isolated Equilibrium Points: A linear system has only one isolated
equilibrium point, to which the states of the system can converge regardless of the initial
state or initial conditions. However, nonlinear systems can have more than one isolated
equilibrium points and the states of the system can converge to any one of the several
equilibrium points depending on the initial conditions. For instance, the nonlinear system
describe by the following equation has two equilibrium points:
= + 2
These equilibrium points are at: = 0 & = 1

2) Finite Escape Time: The state of an unstable linear system goes to infinity as time
approaches infinity, but the state of a nonlinear system can go to infinity in finite time.
For instance, the following system response can go to infinity in finite time depending
= + 2
The behavior of the system is shown in the figure. 1. If the initial conditions are x(0) > 1 then
the system response will go to infinity in finite time.
3) Limit Cycles: Nonlinear systems can display oscillations of fixed amplitude and period
without external excitation. These self-excited oscillations are termed as Limit Cycles.
On the other hand, linear systems also exhibit oscillations but it is extremely difficult to
maintain the amplitude of these oscillations in the presence of perturbations. They occur
due to the presence of pair of Eigen values on the imaginary axis and their amplitude is
dependent on the initial conditions. But the Limit Cycles are independent of the initial
conditions. For instance the system described by the following equation will exhibit limit
+ 2( 2 1) + = 0
where m, c and k are positive constants.
This system can be realized by the mass spring damper system with position dependent
damping coefficient. Similarly, it can also be realized as an RLC series circuit with
nonlinear position dependent resistor. For large values of x, the damping coefficient is
positive and it removes energy from the system. Similarly, for small values of x, the
energy is absorbed in the system. Hence the limit cycle sustained oscillations by releasing
energy into the environment and then by absorbing energy from the system. Moreover,
these oscillations are also independent of the initial conditions.
4) Subharmonic, Harmonic and Almost Periodic Oscillations: A linear system under the
influence of a periodic input will produce an output of the same frequency. On the other
hand, the nonlinear systems under the influence of a periodic input can produce
oscillations that are multiple and submultiple of the input frequency. It may even generate
and almost-periodic oscillations. For example, the sum of periodic oscillations with
frequencies that are not multiples of each other with give such oscillations.
5) Chaos: For stable linear systems, small differences in initial conditions will cause small
difference in the output. However, nonlinear systems are extremely sensitive to the initial
conditions. A slight difference in initial conditions may produce a totally different output.

Hence, it is not possible to predict the exact output of the system i.e. Steady State
behavior is unpredictable. This nonlinear phenomenon is termed as Chaos.
6) Bifurcation: Stability of equilibrium points and even the number of equilibrium points
can change on changing the parameters of a nonlinear system. This qualitative change in
the nature of the system due to the quantitative change in the system parameters is termed
as bifurcation. The values of these parameters on which the qualitative nature changes are
termed as bifurcation values.

Why Nonlinear Systems Control Techniques?

Linear control is a mature subject but because of the following reasons, nonlinear control
techniques are preferred over the linear one:
1) Long Range Operation: Linear control techniques are only valid in small range of
operation, where the system response can be approximated as linear. But when the range
of operation becomes large, then the performance of such controllers becomes very poor
or sometimes may even leads to instability. Nonlinear control techniques, on the other
hand, can handle the nonlinearities present in long range operation. It is also even
possible to negate the nonlinearities present in the system model using nonlinear control
2) Analysis of Hard Nonlinearities: For a successful operation, linear controllers require
the system model itself to be linear. However, it is not possible all the time that the
system on which a controller is required to be implemented is linear. It is entirely not
possible to ignore such hard nonlinearities of discontinuous nature to approximate the
system as linear. Hence, if we ignore these inherent nonlinearities present in the system,
then a linear controllers performance will be degraded sufficiently. But a nonlinear
controller can control such nonlinearities, including limit cycles effectively.
3) Dealing with Model Uncertainties: Linear control techniques also require the system
parameters to be definite and well known. However, many uncertainties can be involved
in a system related to the slow variation of these parameters. For instance, during takeoff,
the ambient air pressure experienced by the aero plane varies slowly. Linear controllers
based on inaccurate or obsolete values of model parameters may introduce instability or
sufficient performance degradation. But nonlinear controllers can compensate such
parameter variation and they can easily tolerate such behavior without affecting the
overall system performance.

4) Design Simplicity: Since, nonlinear controllers are deeply rooted in the design physics of
the system, so their design is more intuitive and simple as compared to linear controllers.
On the other hand, linear controllers require finding a linearized system matrix and its
Eigen values to design a sophisticated controller. But actually, the systems stability has
very little to do with these Eigen values.
5) Cost Effectiveness: Linear Controllers require special sensors and actuators, which give
linear response over a specified range. It is due to the fact that the nonlinearities may
cause instability to the system. Hence, these sensors and actuators are expensive. While,
nonlinear controllers can utilize economical sensors whose responses are nonlinear in
nature. Hence making the cost of overall system economical.