Controllability and observability of 2D thermal flow in bulk storage facilities using sensitivity fields

Nik L.M. Grubben, Karel J. Keesman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


To control and observe spatially distributed thermal flow systems, the controllable field and observable field around the actuator and sensor are of interest, respectively. For spatially distributed systems, the classical systems theoretical concepts of controllability and observability are, in general, difficult to apply. In this study, sensitivity fields were used to analyse the behaviour from input to state and from initial state to output. For the analysis of controllability and observability, a large-scale, bulk storage facility with coupled thermal flow of air and agro-products was used. Analysis of this system using the classical systems theory results in controllability and observability results that are dependent on the step size of the spatially discretised system. Due to matrix multiplications, inaccurate results are calculated if the step size is too small. Our findings indicate that input-state and initial-state output sensitivity fields provide sufficient information about the controllability and observability of large coupled spatially distributed systems, using finite-dimensional state space representation with small discretisation steps.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1554-1566
JournalInternational Journal of Control
Issue number7
Early online date1 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • controllability
  • convection–diffusion–reaction equations
  • observability
  • sensitivity field
  • Spatially distributed coupled systems


Dive into the research topics of 'Controllability and observability of 2D thermal flow in bulk storage facilities using sensitivity fields'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this