Model-based simulation makes extensive use of a growing number of analysis tools that facilitate the design cycle, especially for complex systems. Changes to a model either to increase fidelity (more complex) or to investigate design modifications can be accomplished using a synthesis methodology. An automated or semi-automated approach can be a valuable tool in system design by providing a designer with feasible strategies, while ruling out others.
This paper explores the use of classical synthesis techniques developed for electrical network theory, with particular interest to systems containing active elements. Active elements imply power flow into a system, and in many cases active devices can provide weight savings, simplify a design that contains only passive elements, or even introduce cost savings. This methodology is proposed for guiding the design of systems with actuators, for example, or for systems in which it is desired to replace existing passive components with one or more active elements (active retrofits). The synthesis method is combined with numerical simulation to generate an operating envelope for active devices. The method yields recommended physical realizations, and detailed modeling will lead to more refined system development.