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Laplace Transformation

Laplace transformation is a powerful tool for solving linear system of ODEs and
corresponding initial value problems arising in engineering. Laplace transformation is most
important operation for engineers and researchers. It offers a direct method for solving ODEs
without first determining its general solution and then evaluating of arbitrary constants.
Pierre Simon Marquis De Laplace (1749-1827), great French mathematician, was a
professor in Paris. He developed the foundation of potential theory and made important
contribution to celestial mechanics, astronomy in general, special functions and probability
theory. Napoleon Bonaparte was his student for a year. The powerful practical Laplace
Transformation technique was developed over a century later by English electrical Engineer
Oliver Heaviside and was often called Heaviside calculus. Unfortunately Heavisides treatment
was unsystematic and lacked rigour, which was placed on sound mathematical footing by
Bromwich and Carson during 1916-17. Heavisides operational calculus is best introduced by
means of a particular type of definite integrals called Laplace Transformations.
is a function defined for of all
, its Laplace Transformation is integral of
to . Thus

Here we assume that

a real or complex number.

is such that the integral exists. is a parameter which may be

being clearly a function of
and is written as

Further we can write
is called the inverse Laplace Transformation of
Laplace transformation Operator.

Below are some functions

and their Laplace transforms

. The symbol

is called

Main theorems of the Laplace transform

Superposition theorem:
For arbitrary constants


it follows that

The Laplace transformation is a linear integral transformation.

Similarity theorem:
For an arbitrary constant

is valid. This follows from Eq. (2.1) by the substitution of

Real Shifting theorem:
For an arbitrary constant

is valid. This follows directly from Eq. (2.1) by the substitution of

Complex Shifting theorem:
For an arbitrary constant

is valid. This follows directly from Eq. (2.1).

Derivative theorem:
For a causal function of time,
, for which the derivative for
as shown in section A.1.3, one obtains

exists, then


and in the case of multiple differentiation


Complex differentiation theorem:
This theorem shows that a differentiation of the mapped function
corresponds to a multiplication with the time in the time domain:

Integral theorem:
The integral of a function is mapped by

as shown in section A.1.3.

Convolution in the time domain:
The convolution of two functions of time
symbolic notation


, presented by the

, is defined as

In section A.1.3 it is shown that the convolution of the two original functions
corresponds to the multiplication of the related mapped functions, that is

Convolution in the frequency domain:
Whereas in h) the convolution of two functions of time was given, a similar
result for the convolution of two functions in the frequency domain exists and
is given by


is valid. Furthermore, is the complex
variable of integration. According to this theorem the Laplace transform of the
product of two functions of time is equal to the convolution of
in the mapped domain. This is shown in detail in section A.1.3.


Initial and final value theorems:
The theorem of the initial condition allows the direct calculation of the function

of a causal function of time

If the Laplace transform of


from the Laplace transform

exist, then

is valid if the

exists, see section A.1.3.

Using the theorem of the final value the value of

determined from

, if the Laplace transform of


can be
exist and the

also exists. Then it follows from section A.1.3 that


One has to observe that


can be calculated only from the corresponding Laplace transform

application of the theorems of the initial or final value, if the existence of the
related limit in the time domain is a priori assured. The following two examples
should explain this:
Example 2.3.1

The limit
Example 2.3.2

does not exist so that the final value theorem may not be applied.

The limit

does not exist and therefore the final value theorem may not be

It can be concluded from the last two examples that the following general statement is
valid: If the Laplace transform
has, apart from a single pole at the origin
poles on the imaginary axis or in the right-half plane, then the initial or final value
theorems cannot be applied.

The inverse Laplace transform

The inverse Laplace transform is described by Eq. (A.2). As already mentioned in
section 2.2 in many cases a direct evaluation of the complex inverse integral is not
necessary, as the most important elementary functions are given in Table 2.1. A
complicated function,
, not given in Table 2.1 must be decomposed into a sum of
simple functions of that is

which have a known inverse Laplace transform:


For many problems in control the function

as rational fraction, that is

is a ratio of polynomials in s, known



, then

are the numerator and the denominator, respectively.

is divided by

, where a polynomial in

polynomials are obtained. The numerator of the fraction

than . E.g, if

and a ratio of
has a lower order

, then




are constants.

A rational fraction
given in Eq. (2.17) can be decomposed into more simple
functions by application of partial fraction decomposition, as shown in Eq. (2.15). In

order to perform this decomposition the denominator polynomial

factorised into the form

must be


For a denominator polynomial of -th order one obtains


. The zeros of

roots or

are also known as the poles of

, since

they define where

is infinite. The partial fraction decomposition for different
types of poles is shown in the following.
Case 1:

has only single poles.

can be expanded into the form

where the residuals are real or complex constants. Using the table of
correspondences one immediately can obtain the corresponding function of time

The values can be determined either by comparing the coefficients or by using

the theorem of residuals from the theory of functions according to

Case 2:


has multiple poles.

For multiple poles of

each with multiplicity
corresponding partial fraction decomposition is



The back transformation of Eq. (2.23) into the time domain is


The real or complex coefficients

residuals are


determined by the theorem of


This general relation also contains the case of single poles of

real or complex.
Case 3:

. The poles may be

has also conjugate complex poles.

As both, the numerator

and the denominator
of the function
rational algebraic functions, complex factors always arise as conjugate complex pairs.

has a conjugate complex pair of poles


, then for the

in the partial fraction decomposition of

Eq. (2.20) can be applied to give


where the residuals

are also a conjugate complex pair. Therefore, both fractions of

combined, and one obtains

can be

with the real coefficients


The determination of the coefficients

of residuals by


is performed again using the theorem



is complex, both sides of this equation are complex. Comparing the real and

imaginary parts of both sides one gets two equations for the calculation of
This procedure is demonstrated now using the following example.
Example 2.4.1 Find the inverse Laplace transform

The partial fraction decomposition of

where the function


contains the conjugate pair of poles

In addition the third pole of

For the coefficients




it follows from Eq. (2.29)

Comparing the real and imaginary parts on both sides one obtains

and from this finally

Using Eq. (2.22) the residual is

The partial fraction decomposition of

which can be rearranged in the form

is thus


such that correspondences given in Table 2.1 can be directly applied to find the
inverse transformation. Using the correspondences 16, 15 and 6 of this table, it
follows that

which can be rearranged as