Spring-Mass-Damper System

Brief Description:

The spring-mass-damper system demonstrates properties of flexible systems such as mode shapes, natural frequencies and characteristic frequency responses.


The apparatus, the ECP model 210 is readily transformed into a variety of configurations and is closely related to many industrial control applications. It provides visually stimulating tracking and regulation demonstrations of a SISO plant in real-time experiments. The system can be set up in sixteen different configurations that allow to study and compare robust control methodolgies and features adjustable masses, interchangable springs and adjustable air damping.

Challenges with the plant include parametric model uncertainties as well as nonlinear friction. A model can be obtained via physical modelling of the linear dynamics.

Export of Matlab/Simulink code to a real-time target provides rapid prototyping capabilities and allows actual hardware-in-the-loop evaluation of control algorithms.

The setup is suitable for a variety of different control methods as well as different system identification approaches. Further, the spring-mass-damper system is also used to teach robust controller design in the practical course Control Lab.