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Coupled Tanks

Reconfigurable modeling and process control experiment

Control Systems & Dynamics Electromechanical Control Industrial Applications & Process Control

The Coupled Tanks system is a process control experiment ideal for teaching and research of control topics related to liquid level control.


Product Details

Designed in association with Prof. Karl Åström and Prof. Karl Henrik Johansson, the Coupled Tanks system consists of a single pump with two tanks. Each tank is instrumented with a pressure sensor to measure the water level. The pump drives the water from the bottom basin up to the top of the system. Depending on how the outflow valves are configured, the water then flows to the top tank, bottom tank, or both. The rate of flow can also be changed using outflow orifices with different diameters. The ability to direct water flow, together with variable outflow orifices allows for several interesting Single Input Single Output (SISO) configurations. Further, two or more Coupled Tanks can be combined together for Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) experiments.

  • Pressure sensors on each tank
  • Re-configurable water flow pump and tanks
  • Drain tap allows water from top tank to pour directly into basin
  • Three sizes for outflow orifices supplied (small, medium, and large)
Device mass 6.6 kg
Frame dimensions (H x W x L) 30.5 cm x  30.5 cm x  91.5 cm
Pump flow constant 3.3 cm³/V.s
Pressure sensor sensitivity 6.1 cm/V
Pressure sensor range 0 to 6.89 kPa
Tank height 30 cm
Tank inside diameter 4.45 cm
Small outflow orifice diameter 0.32 cm
Medium outflow orifice diameter 0.48 cm
Large outflow orifice diameter 0.56 cm
  • Derivation of dynamic model from first-principles
  • Transfer function representation
  • Linearization
  • Level control
  • PID
  • Feed-forward
  • Control parameter tuning

The following additional components are required to complete your workstation, and are sold separately:

For Simulink

  • QUARC® add-on for MATLAB®/Simulink®
  • Quanser VoltPAQ-X1 linear voltage amplifier
  • One of the following DAQ devices:
    • Quanser Q2-USB
    • Quanser Q8-USB
    • Quanser QPIDe


  • Quanser Rapid Control Prototyping (Q-RCP) Toolkit® add-on for NI LabVIEW™
  • Quanser VoltPAQ-X1 linear voltage amplifier
  • One of the following DAQ devices:
    • NI CompactRIO with two Quanser Q1-cRIO modules
    • NI myRIO with Quanser Terminal Board
    • Quanser Q2-USB
    • Quanser Q8-USB
    • Quanser QPIDe

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