Purdue University Graduate School
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posted on 2021-01-07, 15:40 authored by Akshay Satish DalviAkshay Satish Dalvi
The internal and external interactions between the complex structural and behavioral characteristics of the system of interest and the surrounding environment result in unpredictable emergent behaviors. These emergent behaviors are not well understood, especially when modeled using the traditional top-down systems engineering approach. The intrinsic nature of current complex systems has called for an elegant solution that provides an integrated framework in Model-Based Systems Engineering. A considerable gap exists to integrate system engineering activities and engineering analysis, which results in high risk and cost. This thesis presents a framework that incorporates indefinite and definite modeling aspects that are developed to determine the complexity that arises during the development phases of the system. This framework provides a workflow for modeling complex systems using Systems Modeling Language (SysML) that captures the system’s requirements, behavior, structure, and analytical aspects at both problem definition and solution levels. This research introduces a new level/dimension to the framework to support engineering analysis integrated with the system architecture model using FMI standards. A workflow is provided that provides the enabling methodological capabilities. It starts with a statement of need and ends with system requirement verification. Detailed traceability is established that glues system engineering and engineering analysis together. Besides, a method is proposed for predicting the system’s complexity by calculating the complexity index that can be used to assess the complexity of the existing system and guide the design and development of a new system. To test and demonstrate this framework, a case study consisting of a complex district cooling system is implemented. The case study shows the framework’s capabilities in enabling the successful modeling of a complex district cooling system. The system architecture model was developed using SysML and the engineering analysis model using Modelica. The proposed framework supports system requirements verification activity. The analysis results show that the district chiller model developed using Modelica produces chilled water below 6.6 degrees Celsius, which satisfies the system requirement for the district chiller system captured in the SysML tool. Similarly, many such requirement verification capabilities using dynamic simulation integration with the high-level model provides the ability to perform continuous analysis and simulation during the system development process. The systems architecture complexity index is measured for the district cooling case study from the black-box and white box-perspective. The measured complexity index showed that the system architecture’s behavioral aspect increases exponentially compared to the structural aspect. The systems architecture’s complexity index at black-box and white-box was 4.998 and 67.3927, respectively.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering


  • Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

  • Indianapolis

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Hazim El-Mounayri

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Ali Razban

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Sohel Anwar