The physical basis of analogies in physical system models

Neville Hogan, Peter C. Breedveld

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)
    10819 Downloads (Pure)


    One of the fascinating aspects of mechatronic systems is that their function depends on interactions between electrical and mechanical behavior and often magnetic, fluid, thermal, chemical, or other effects as well. At the same time, this can present a challenge as these phenomena are normally associated with different disciplines of engineering and physics. One useful approach to this multidisciplinary or “multiphysics” problem is to establish analogies between behavior in different domains-for example, resonance due to interaction between inertia and elasticity in a mechanical system is analogous to resonance due to interaction between capacitance and inductance in an electrical circuit. Analogies can provide valuable insight about how a design works, identify equivalent ways a particular function might be achieved, and facilitate detailed quantitative analysis. They are especially useful in studying dynamic behavior, which often arises from interactions between domains; for example, even in the absence of elastic effects, a mass moving in a magnetic field may exhibit resonant oscillation. However, there are many ways that analogies may be established and, unfortunately, the most appropriate analogy between electrical circuits, mechanical and fluid systems remains unresolved: is force like current, or is force more like voltage? In this contribution we examine the physical basis of the analogies in common use and how they may be extended beyond mechanical and electrical systems.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Mechatronics Handbook
    EditorsRobert H. Bishop
    PublisherCRC Press/Balkema
    ISBN (Electronic)9781420042450
    ISBN (Print)9780849300660
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


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