Definition of physical (or concrete) system

A physical or concrete system is a system that has a concrete, tangible and perceptible existence. It is one of the two possible classes of system according to its constitution or nature.

If a system is not classified as physical then it is classified as an abstract or conceptual system.

A physical or concrete system is composed of tangible and perceptible elements: they are the component parts of the system that function/interact with each other with a common goal. Some of these components can also be systems, in these cases they are subsystems of the main system under study.

The boundary or system boundary in the case of physical systems is generally easier to define because it is physically palpable.

examples of physical systems

They are physical or concrete systems: a computer, a human, the Earth, the planetary system.

A fan is a physical system, it has its specific component parts such as protection grille, blades, shaft, support foot, motor, control knob, etc.

Physical systems and abstract systems

Physical and abstract systems often work hand in hand, since a physical system needs an abstract subsystem to function.

When studying a system, it is decided which is the main system to be studied. The main system is classified as physical or abstract, then by studying its parts or components, the abstract subsystem or the physical subsystem is discovered, as the case may be, which allows it to function.

For example, a computer is our main study system and we classify it as a physical system, but it requires an (abstract) software subsystem to function.

An operating system (such as Windows or Android) is an abstract system and can be studied as such. It does not have a physical subsystem, but it must function as a subsystem of a higher physical system that contains it (a suprasystem), such as a computer or a cell phone, for it to work and make sense.

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