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Position of a ball on a beam is controlled using a motor through cascaded feedback loops.

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Ball and Beam Control Model


This simulink model was built for the Washington University in St. Louis Systems Engineering Laboratory by Philip Thomas, Nicole Schreiber, and Allison Doren.

This model implements cascaded feedback loops to control the position of a ball bearing on a beam. The inner loop models the movement of the motor, while the outer loop models the movement of the ball and beam. Noise is filtered through a filter in the outer loop. While input may be a square wave or a sinusoid, we implemented a sensor consisting of separate ball and beam, where we manually manipulated the position of the ball as an input. The system thus reads the input of one ball and beam system, then mimicks it on the other system.


Video and additional background are available in my blog post Ball and Beam Control Model.

Design Specifications

  • No steady-state error
  • .15 second time to peak
  • 5.0% overshoot
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