Thomas F. Edgar, University of Texas


Process Instrumentation and Sensors May 1, 2006

Process control: what to teach?

There is an ongoing debate in chemical engineering departments on what should be taught in an undergraduate process control course. How can we better prepare students for what they will see in industry upon graduation? Topics covered in a typical 15-week university control course include dynamic behavior, with one week on Laplace transforms and analytical solutions to differential equations, ph...

By Thomas F. Edgar, University of Texas
Control Systems December 1, 2005

Lab courses go virtual

A number of universities have maintained a dedicated laboratory course as part of the process control sequence, but those numbers have been shrinking due to the high resource requirements of lab courses and the pressure to reduce the number of hours in the engineering curriculum. While some chemical engineering departments run a junior measurement lab and a senior unit-operations lab, many now ...

By Thomas F. Edgar, University of Texas
Manufacturing IT, MES May 1, 2005

Take a systems approach

In the United States, control engineers typically are not educated in control engineering departments. Instead, they obtain degrees in such disciplines as electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, or chemical engineering. In 2003, a series of National Science Foundation-funded workshops assessed the chemical engineering curriculum.

By Thomas F. Edgar, University of Texas
Control Systems November 1, 2004

Controllability and profitability

There seems to be general agreement in the process industries and in academia that the method of choice today for multivariable control is model predictive control (MPC). The MPC framework successfully handles processes with multiple inputs and outputs where single loop controllers can be ineffective; it also directly deals with constraints (such as saturation) that are problematic with PID con...

By Thomas F. Edgar, University of Texas
Manufacturing IT, MES June 1, 2004

Computing practices of new engineers

Software tools such as LabView and Matlab, which are heavily used in many engineering colleges, offer considerable potential for enhancing productivity in manufacturing, Tom Kurfess pointed out in this column in February 2004. Further evidence of this industrial-academic software connection is found in a recent study performed by the CACHE Corp.

By Thomas F. Edgar, University of Texas
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