In vapor compression cycle (VCC) systems, it is desirable to effectively control the thermodynamic cycle. By controlling the thermodynamic states of the refrigerant with an inner-loop, supervisory algorithms can manage critical objectives such as maintaining superheat and maximizing the coefficient of performance, etc. In the HVAC industry, it is generally preferred to tune multiple single-input-single-output (SISO) control inner-loops rather than a single multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) control inner-loop. This paper presents a process by which a simplified feedback control structure amenable to a decoupled SISO control loop design may be identified. In particular, the many possible candidate input-output pairs for decentralized control are sorted via a decoupling metric, the relative gain array number. From a reduced set of promising candidate input-output pairs, engineering insight is applied to arrive at the final pairings successfully verified on a refrigeration test stand.

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