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Bo de Plots

David L. Trump er

April 9, 2003

1 Over view of fre que ncy resp onse

Bo de plots are a graphic al re pre se ntation of the res p onse of a s ystem to a steady-st ate sinusoidal input. Sp e cifically, for a syste m with a transfer func tion H ( s), the re sp onse to a sinus oid may b e shown as :

H ( s ), the re sp onse to a sinus oid may b e shown

where M = |H ( j ω 0 )| and φ = H (j ω 0 ). Of cours e, the sam e picture holds if the input is a sinusoidal function of tim e inste ad of a cos ine input.

Here we use the notation ω 0 to indic ate that we are considering a sinus oid with a sp ec ific input fre quency. The key re sult is that an input s inusoid leads , in ste ady-s tate , to an output sinusoid of the same fre quency. The amplitude at the output is s caled by a fac tor of M relative to the input amplitude , and the phas e at the output is shifte d by an am ount φ relative to the input. The terms M and φ are c alc ulate d by evaluating the magnitude and phase of the trans fe r function with the pure imaginary argum ent j ω 0 .

The unde rlying mathem atic s b e hind the res ult s tated ab ove com e from re cognizing the partic ularly sim ple form of the partic ular s olution when the input driving function is a complex exp onential. That is, if a s ystem input has the form e s 0 t , a partic ular s olution is given by H ( s 0 ) e s 0 t . This is shown graphically b e low:

0 t , a partic ular s olution is given by H ( s 0 )


In the c ase that we are inte re ste d in the sinusoidal steady-sta te , we s et s 0 = j ω 0 , since the real and im aginary pa rts of e j ω 0 t are cos ω 0 t and sin ω 0 t , res p ec tive ly. It is c omputationally far simpler to work with the complex e xp one ntial input and its ass o ciated particular s olution, and then take the real or imaginary parts after the fact to find the solution to a s inusoidal input. The op eration of taking the re al or imaginary part is valid due to the linearity of the the s yste m H ( s). B ec aus e the s ys tem is linear, it simultane ous ly and inde p endently pro ce sse s the real and im aginary parts of the s ignal, and these two comp one nts c an b e s eparate d at the output. This situation is shown b elow

e s eparate d at the output. This situation is shown b elow where, as b

where, as b efore , M = |H ( j ω 0 )| and φ = H ( j ω 0 ).

This las t re sult can b e de monstrated as follows . If we define M and φ as ab ove, the n it holds that

H ( j ω 0 ) = M e j φ ,


and thus that

H (j ω 0 ) e j ω 0 t = M e j φ e j ω 0 t = M e j ( ω 0 t + φ) .


The real part of the last term ab ove is M cos ( ω 0 t + φ ), and the im aginary part is M sin( ω 0 t + φ ) as s hown in the figure . Thus we have show n that a s inusoidal input is sc aled in amplitude by the factor M , and shifted in phase by an amount φ .


A time domain vie w of this res ult is shown b elow:

A time domain vie w of this res ult is shown b elow: Here , the

Here , the input is chose n as u (t ) = s in t, and the output is M sin( t + φ ), where we have se t M = 0 .707 and φ = π / 4. For the purp os es of this plot, we se t ω 0 = 1, but if the time axe s were redefine d

as t = ω 0 t , then this plot is valid for all ω 0 .

There are a c ouple p oints to make ab out the plot. First, the p erio d T of the s inusoids is T = 2 π /ω 0 , and thus has the value T = 2 π se c for ω 0 = 1. The input osc illates b e wtee n p eak values of ±1, whereas the output os cillate s b ewte en p e ak values of ±M . Finally, the time shift b etween e quivalent phas e p oints on the output relative to the input is related to the phase shift φ as

and thus




= φ



Δ t = φ


π T .



We c ount a time de lay as negative phas e and thus a ne gative time s hift. In the plot as shown, φ = π / 4, and thus, for ω 0 = 1, Δ t = π / 4 s ec .

As a final c omme nt, note that we have s elec ted the input amplitude as unity, and the input phas e shift as zero. Howe ver, if we we re to sc ale the input by some factor, this would s imply multiply b oth waveform s, and so would just b e a re de finition of the scale -factor of the axe s. The ratio of output to input would re main e qual to M . Further, if we were to give the input a nonz ero phase


shift, this would jus t s hift b oth wave forms in time , with the relative phas e shift re maining e qual to φ . T his would jus t b e a re de finition of the p oint t = 0. T he c onc lus ion the n is that the plot ab ove shows the es se ntial features for understanding fre que nc y res p onse for any choic e of input amplitude or phas e shift. The linear syste m H acts to s cale the amplitude by M , and shift the phas e by φ .

In the disc us sion ab ove, we have as sumed a given input fre quency ω 0 , but if we now let the fre que nc y vary, then it is c le ar that we c an charac teriz e the fre quency res p onse for any input fre que nc y ω , by plotting M and φ as a function of ω .

In a Bo de plot, we plot M ( ω ) on a log- log s cale, and φ ( ω ) on a sem i-log s cale. The reas on for doing this is that we are freque ntly interes ted in a w ide range of fre quency and amplitudes , and a log- log plot allows showing such w ide dyam ic range w ith e qual res olution in e ach dec ade of res p onse . Howeve r, s ince phase typic ally varies in a limited range, it is plotte d on linear axe s versus fre que nc y on log axes .

Another strong advantage of taking a fre quency resp ons e vie wp oint is that the Bo de plot for re al sys tems can b e readily m easured us ing an ins trume nt re fe rred to as a dynamic a nalyzer. It is usually far m ore acc urate to deve lop a mo del for a line ar syste m by ta king frequency res p ons e me asure me nts and then fitting the se meas ure ments to some mo del, as opp os ed to making a tim e- res p ons e meas ure ment for an input such as a s tep.



Example system Bo de plot

An e xample e xp e rime ntally-determined Bo de plot app e ars as follow s. This plot is take n from the Do ctoral the sis work of Ste ve Ludwick 1 , and shows the re sp onse for an e lec tromagnetic ally-drive n to ol axis which c arries and p os itions a diamond c utting to ol in a novel fast to ol s ervo w hich Ludwick develop ed. The Bo de plot re pres ents the re sp onse from motor torque c omm and in volts to angular output in radians as meas ure d by a rotary e nc o der.

output in radians as meas ure d by a rotary e nc o der. In this

In this plot, the fre quency re sp onse is pre sente d w ith m agnitude versus frequency in the top pane l, and phase versus fre que nc y in the b ottom pane l. This is the typical Bo de plot form at. The fre quency axis is in units of Hertz (cyc le s/s ec ) rathe r than the radians /se c units that the the ory pre se nte d e arlier ass um es . Both are ac ce ptable units for fre que nc y, howe ver it is require d that the plolt clearly lab el the as so ciate d units. The re lationship b e twe en thes e is ω = 2 π f , where f is in Hz and ω is in units of rad/s ec . Note also the logarithmically- sc ale d axes for frequency and magnitude, and the linear axe s for phase s hift.

In this partic ular plot, the logarithmic sc aling of the magnitude is accom plished by plotting mag­ nitude in units of decibels , which are abbreviate d as dB. The definition of dB is

dB = 20 log 10 ( M )


1 Ludw ick , Ste phen, “High-Sp eed Lens Cutting Machine,” P h.D. T hesis, MIT Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, June, 1999


where M is the transfer function magnitude as define d earlie r. Thus a magnitude of M = 100

is e quivalent to 40 dB, and so on. Bo de plots can b e lab elled e ither with the magnitude M on a

logrithmically-sc aled axis , or with the magnitude in dB on a line arly s caled axis. It is my pre fe re nc e


lab e l with M direc tly, s inc e this is the quantity of mos t dire ct interes t, and avoids c omputations


c onve rt back from dB. Howeve r, co mmon plotting software, such as the bode.m routine in Matlab,

plot in te rm s of dB.

While it is not s trictly corre ct to take the log of a quantity w ith dime ns ions, the standard prac tic e

is not to worry ab out the units whe n c omputing dB. Thus , while the indicate d tra ns fe r function

magnitude is in units of rad/V, when computing the magnitude in dB, we sim ply take 20 log 10 ( M ) without c ons ide ration for the units of M .

The m agnitude plot pass es through - 60 dB at a freque nc y of ab out 100 Hz. Given the definition


dB ab ove, this me ans that the transfer function magnitude has a value of 10 3 at a fre quency


100 Hz . Furthe r, the phase shift is equal to 180 at this fre que nc y.

Putting this information together, if the input voltage has an am plitude of 1 V at a freque nc y of

100 Hz, then we c an write the input as v in ( t ) = 1 sin(2 π 100 t ) V. Given the B o de plot m agnitude and

phas e at this fre que nc y, the n we can com pute the output angle as θ out ( t ) = 10 3 sin(2 π 100 t π ) rad. That is , the output amplitude is 1 milliradian, with a phas e s hift of π relative to the input voltage.

Note he re that we’ve c onve rte d 100 Hz to 2 π 100 rad/se c, and the phas e shift of 180 to π , since the argum ent of s ine must b e in radians.

In this des ign, it was key to have the to ol axis transfer function with its resonant frequencies as high as p os sible . The p e aks in the m agnitude plot show that the first res onant frequency is at

910 Hz, and the se cond re sonant fre que nc y is at 2280 Hz. Thes e are re markably high for such an

ele ctromechanica l axis . B y ke eping the re sonant fre que nc ie s high, it was p os sible to im plem ent a

relatively high-bandwidth close d- lo op control bandw idth, and thereby achie ve acc urate and rapid

control of the axis.

The exp e rim ental data in this plot was taken for a numb er of varying input am plitudes , which

res ults in the variations in the plots shown at low frequency. T his e ffec t is due to the rolling

characte ris tic s of the axis b e arings as a function of am plitude. As s een in the plot, howe ver, the me asure me nts are largely am plitude-inde p e ndent for frequencies ab ove ab out 30 Hz. Also note that the e xp erime ntal data b ec ome s som ewhat nois y ab ove ab out 2200 Hz , and thus is not like ly reliable ab ove this fre que nc y.

A transfer function mo del was fitted to this data, and the Bo de plot for the mo de l is overlaid on

the plot. The fitted mo del is




ω n






s 2 · s 2 + 2 ζ 1 ω n 1 + ω n 1 · s 2 + 2 ζ 2 ω 2 + ω n





· e

2 × 10


s .


where ω n 1 = 2 π 910 rad/s ec , ω n 2 = 2 π 2285 rad/s ec , ζ 1 = 0 . 01, and ζ 2 = 0 . 005. The m o de l is of sixth orde r, plus a tim e de lay. The tim e de lay has a value of 200 µ se c, and is due to the finite com putational time of the c ompute r- bas ed controlle r ass o c iated with this axis , c omputations in the enco de r interfac e ele ctronics , as well as the charac te ris tic s of the sam pling op e ration asso c iate d with such digital controlle rs . The term e 2 × 10 4 repre se nts this time delay (we later s how that



the transfer func tion of a time delay of T se conds is e T s ). The time delay aff ec ts only the phas e plot, and is res p onsible for the sagging of the phas e to more ne gative values at high freque nc ies .

The machine itse lf which house s this axis is shown sche matically in cross -s ection with the rotational axis oriented ve rtic ally at the le ft of the figure:

Schematic of Rotary Fast-Tool Servo

bearings seals encoder tool arms shaft coupling

lens encoder spindle cross slide linear encoder motor motor base
cross slide
linear encoder motor

A picture of the hardware setup is shown b elow . The to ol axis is house d in the c ast-iron blo ck at the left in the picture .

of the hardware setup is shown b elow . The to ol axis is house d



Bo de plots for some basic building blo cks

The goal of this se ction is to show how to ske tch Bo de plots for some basic te rm s which app e ar in trans fe r functions . Once the plots for these building blo cks are we ll- unde rsto o d, it is a fairly sim ple matte r to draw the B o de plot for more com plex transfer functions. We start with single real-axis ze ros and p oles and the n m ove on to dis cuss ing c omple x conjugate ze ros and p oles .

3.1 Zer os at the origin

This s ec tion de velops the B o de plots for H 1 ( s ) = s and H 2 ( s ) = s 2 . These have one and two ze ros at the origin, re sp e ctively:

( s ) = s 2 . These have one and two ze ros at the

The corre sp onding B o de plots are


3.2 Poles at the origin This s ec tion deve lops the Bo de plots

3.2 Poles at the origin

This s ec tion deve lops the Bo de plots for H 1 ( s ) = 1 /s and H 2 ( s ) = 1 /s 2 . Thes e have one and two p ole s at the origin, re sp ec tive ly:

) = 1 /s 2 . Thes e have one and two p ole s at

The corre sp onding B o de plots are


4 Bo de plot sketching rules 10

4 Bo de plot sketching rules