The Interdisciplinary Automatic Controls Laboratory (IACL) is unique in that it is a mechanical engineering laboratory which is employed for joint instruction of students from the electrical, chemical and mechanical engineering programs. The laboratory consists of numerous experimental stations drawn from process controls, servomechanisms, and power conversion. Basic experiments require the design and implementation of single-loop feedback controllers for the regulation of speed, level and generated voltage. Advanced experiments require identification of multivariable, nonlinear, unstable or discrete systems and the design and implementation of feedback controllers to meet performance specifications. The unusual experiments in the laboratory include electrically and hydraulically powered servomechanisms, linear and rotary inverted pendulums, a HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system, a magnetic levitation system, a 3 DOF (degree-of-freedom) helicopter, an interacting temperature and level system, an open-loop unstable thermal reactor, and a programmable logic controller for pick-and-place, traffic signaling, and washer machine experiments.
The Interdisciplinary Automatic Controls Laboratory was established in 1991 and is a key component of the education at Lehigh University. This state-of-the-art laboratory, which requires permanent maintenance, upgrade, expansion, and renovation, has prospered and grown with the help of Mr. Ernst A. Benzien.