In the design of controllers for heat transfer systems, one must often describe the plant dynamics by partial differential equations. The problem of optimizing a controller for a system described by partial differential equations is considered here using exact and approximate methods. Results equivalent to the Euler-Lagrange equations are derived for the minimization of an index of performance with integral equation constraints. These integral equation constraints represent the solution of the partial differential equations and the associated boundary conditions. The optimization of the control system using a product expansion as an approximation to the transcendental transfer function of the system is also considered. The results using the two methods are in good agreement. Two examples are given illustrating the application of both the exact and approximate methods. The approximate method requires less computation.

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