Modularity and Causality in Physical System Modelling

[+] Author and Article Information
N. Hogan

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Instutute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. 02139

J. Dyn. Sys., Meas., Control 109(4), 384-391 (Dec 01, 1987) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3143871 History: Received June 20, 1986; Online July 21, 2009


Decomposition and reassembly of a physical system should not change the form of its describing equations; the physics and mechanics describing each component of a machine remain the same whether the components are separate or assembled into a complete system. In general, the differential equations used to model physical systems do not share this property. This paper considers restrictions on the structure of mathematical models of physical systems which endow the equations with the same modularity as the physical system. It is shown that models based on nonenergic junctions (ideal series and parallel connections) cannot guarantee this property. Generalized energic junction structures are proposed and it is shown that they are sufficient to guarantee modularity.

Copyright © 1987 by ASME
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