# Introduction To Root-locus Method

**Root-locus method:**

The basic characteristic of the transient response of a closed-loop system is closely related to the location of the closed-loop poles. If the system has a variable loop gain, then the location of the closed-loop poles depends on the value of the loop gain chosen. It is important, therefore, that the designer know how the closed-loop poles move in the s plane as the loop gain is varied.

From the design viewpoint, in some systems simple gain adjustment may move the closed-loop poles to desired locations. Then the design problem may become the selection of an appropriate gain value. If the gain adjustment alone does not yield a desired result, addition of a compensator to the system will become necessary. The closed-loop poles are the roots of the characteristic equation.

Finding the roots of the characteristic equation of degree higher than 3 is laborious. However, just finding the roots of the characteristic equation may be of limited value, because as the gain of the open-loop transfer function varies the characteristic equation changes and the computations must be repeated. A simple method for finding the roots of the characteristic equation called the root-locus method, is one in which the roots of the characteristic equation are plotted for all values of a system parameter. The roots corresponding to a particular value of this parameter can then be located on the resulting graph.

Note that the parameter is usually the gain, but any other variable of the open-loop transfer function may be used. Unless otherwise stated, we shall assume that the gain of the open-loop transfer function is the parameter to be varied through all values, from zero to infinity. By using the root-locus method the designer can predict the effects on the location of the closed-loop poles of varying the gain value or adding open-loop poles and/or open-loop zeros. Therefore, it is desired that the designer have a good understanding of the method for generating the root loci of the closed-loop system.

The basic idea behind the root-locus method is that the values of s that make the transfer function around the loop equal -1 must satisfy the characteristic equation of the system. The locus of roots of the characteristic equation of the closed-loop system as the gain is varied from zero to infinity gives the method its name. Such a plot clearly shows the contributions of each open-loop pole or zero to the locations of the closed-loop poles.

In designing a linear control system, we find that the root-locus method proves quite useful since it indicates the manner in which the open-loop poles and zeros should be modified so that the response meets system performance specifications. This method is particularly suited to obtaining approximate results very quickly. Some control systems may involve more than one parameter to be adjusted.

The root-locus diagram for a system having multiple parameters may be constructed by varying one parameter at a time. The root loci for such a case is called the root contour. The root-locus method is a very powerful graphical technique for investigating the effects of the variation of a system parameter on the location of the closed-loop poles.

In most cases, the system parameter is the loop gain K, although the parameter can be any other variable of the system. If the designer follows the general rules for constructing the root loci, sketching the root loci of a given system may become a simple matter.

By using the root-locus method, it is possible to determine the value of the loop gain K that will make the damping ratio of the dominant closed-loop poles as prescribed. If the location of an open-loop pole or zero is a system variable, then the root-locus method suggests the way to choose the location of an open-loop pole or zero.