Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Robert A. Frederick Jr.

Committee Member

Dale Thomas

Committee Member

Jason T. Cassibry


Aeronautics--Systems engineering, Astronautics--Systems engineering, Modeling languages (Computer science), SysML (Computer science)


A complexity metric was proposed for the quantification of system complexity using information about the composition of a system and its interactions depicted in a System Modelling Language (SysML) model. The proposed metric was adapted from the complexity metric developed by Sinha and Suh for design structure matrix (DSM) applications, and was modified to allow the proposed metric to be applied at different decomposition levels and to accommodate the inclusion of external interactions. The metric was applied to three case studies: an aircraft engine, a Mars lander, and a spacecraft thermal control system. The proposed metric attributed a higher amount of complexity due to the interactions compared to the DSM metric. This variance resulted in instances where the results differed for the two metrics. Despite the differences, both metrics behaved similarly to changes in component or interaction complexity, quantifying how changes in component or interaction complexity affects system complexity.



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