Transfer Functions
Prev: Output Feedback  Chapter 8  Transfer Functions  Next: Frequency Domain Analysis 
This chapter introduces the concept of the transfer function, which is a compact description of the inputoutput relation for a linear system. Combining transfer functions with block diagrams gives a powerful method of dealing with complex systems. The relationship between transfer functions and other system descriptions of dynamics is also discussed.
Textbook ContentsTransfer Functions (pdf, 30Jan08)

Lecture MaterialsSupplemental Information

Chapter Summary
This chapter introduces the concept of a transfer functon for a linear input/output system.
The frequency response of a linear system
is the response of the system to a sinusoidal input at a given frequency. Due to linearity, the response of a system to a more complicated input can be constructed by decomposing the input into the sum of sines and cosines
(The frequency response is described in Chapter 5  Linear Systems).

More, generally an exponential signal is given by
where gives the decay rate of the signal and is the oscillation frequency of the signal. The response to an exponential signal is given by
The transfer function for a linear system is given by
The transfer function represents the steady state response of the system to an exponential input. The transfer function is independent of the choice of coordinates for the state space.
The transfer function for a linear differential equation of the form
is given by
where
The zero frequency gain of a system is given by the magnitude of the transfer function at . It represents the ratio of the steady state value of the output with respect to a step input. For a transfer function of the form , the roots of the polynomial are called the poles of the system and the roots of the polynomial are called the zeros of the system. A pole is also called a mode of the system. The poles correspond to the eigenvalues of the dynamics matrix and determine the stability of the system. The zeros of a transfer function correspond to exponential signals whose transmission is blocked by the system.
Block diagrams that consist of transfer functions can be manipulated using block diagram algebra. The following table gives the transfer functions for some common interconnections of linear systems
Series: Parallel: Feedback: A Bode plot is a plot of the magnitude and phase of the frequency response:
The top plot is the gain curve; the frequency and magnitude are both plotted using a logarithmic scale. The bottom plot is the phase curve and uses a loglinear scale. The dashed lines show straight line approximations of the gain curve and the corresponding phase curve.
The transfer function for a system can be determined from experiments by measuring the frequency response and fitting a transfer function to the data. Formally, the transfer function corresponds to the ratio of the Laplace transforms of the output to the input.
Exercises
Frequently Asked Questions
Errata
 Errata: Dynamics matrix in Example 6.7 has errors in (3,4) and (4,4) entries
 Errata: In Example 6.7, the A matrix has an error in the (3,4) entry
 Errata: In equation (8.6), matrix inverse is computed incorrectly
 Errata: In Example 8.3, a = 10 rad/s
 Errata: In Figure 8.3, the gain falls off at omega = a R1 k / R2
 Errata: In equation (8.15), second order partial derivative is written incorrectly
 Errata: In Example 8.4, boundary condition and coefficients for psi(x) are incorrect
 Errata: Explanation of the lack of zeros when B or C is full rank is confusing
 Errata: Sign error in equation (8.17)  (sI  A) should be (A  sI)
 Errata: In Example 8.5, q should be replaced by theta
 Errata: In Example 8.5, leading term in denominator for H \theta F should be cubic in s
 Errata: In Example 8.6, numerator gain term for G ur should be k r instead of k 1
 Errata: In section on pole/zero cancellations, pole and zero are at s = a
 Errata: Last equation in Example 8.6 has errors in numerator expressions
 Errata: Last equation in Example 8.6 has sign error in the second term
 Errata: Formula for Ged should not have the ' on dc and is missing a minus sign
 Errata: Formula for Ger should have the ' on dp, not dc
 Errata: Location of the process pole is missing a zero in figure caption for cruise control example
 Errata: Missing parenthesis in exponential for output signal
 Errata: In description of Bode plot for second order transfer function, 'a' should be omega 0
 Errata: In Example 8.8, explanation of effects of poles and zeros is incorrect and confusing
 Errata: Caption for Figure 8.15b is missing an s in the numerator
 Errata: In Figure 8.15 and accompanying text a should be omega0
 Errata: In Example 8.9, the expression for sigma is not correct
 Errata: In Exercise 8.5, k in the denominator of G(s) should be (k+1)
 Errata: In Exercise 8.8, second transfer function should be G yn instead of G yd