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Block Diagrams: A Tutorial Alternative to Dynamical Analogies

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Educational advantages and disadvantages of dynamical analogy and block-diagram models for interdisciplinary systems are discussed. If the system equations are known, a block-diagram is a useful tutorial alternative to the conventional dynamical analogy. It is easily drawn and yields a direct, graphical representation of the system equations with block elements that are not required to be physical elements of a specific discipline. Block diagrams illustrate system equations and processes quite differently from dynamical analogies and thereby provide new insights into system performance. They can also be used as alternative representations for linear circuits so that, in principle, it is possible to convert any dynamical analogy into a block diagram. A practical example is given wherein a combined electrical, mechanical, and acoustical system, normally studied using dynamical analogies, is modeled and analyzed with the aid of block diagrams Several interesting technical aspects of this specific, yet typical, interdisciplinary system are assessed.

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Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:19 ,  Issue: 4 )