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4.1.c. Physical Chains

A Physical Chain is a subset of components, that possess interface connections between them or with enabling systems. They are used in order to visualize / focus on / study / work on one or multiple components and their physical architecture separately.

In complex systems, it is useful to create Physical Chains, when you want to separate a part of the Physical architecture to work on it separately.

In this Projection, you will be able to define Physical Chains composed of the existing sybsystems or new ones.

Access to Physical Chains

The Projections of Physical Chains are placed in the folder of Physical Architecture.

Add a new Physical Chain

Start by right-clicking somewhere in this Projection -> Add New Object -> Chain.


For our example, we will create a Physical Chain named "Mouse to Motherboard Chain".


Physical chains attributes

The following table shows the properties of a physical chain:

  • ArkiId (String(255)): an Id for all arKItect objects in arKItect SEA. You can fill it manually or use a tool, called Fill IDs, to do this,
  • chain_type (Enum): an enumeration of different SEA chain types (physical, functional, allocation). It shall be set to "4. physical" to appear in this projection.
  • desc (MEMO): an attribute to write the chain description.
  • Introduction (Rich text): an "rich text" (taking in account, font, styles, images, color, etc.) description of the chain's "story". It can be use full for deliveries generation from chains.

Add existing Objects to a Physical Chain

Add Objects from the Projection "4.1. Define Physical Architecture" to a Physical Chain

A Physical Chain is mainly composed of components, Enabling Systems and Physical Interfaces.

Once we have created the Physical Chains in the Projection "4.1.c. Physical Chains", you can proceed to the projection "4.1. Define Physical Architecture".


In this view, you will be able to add objects to a Physical Chain by right-clicking on each desired object.

Right-click on a component, an Enabling System or a Physical Interface, and click on "Add to Chain", in order to add the object to a previously defined Physical Chain.


After adding all of the desired objects to the Physical Chain, go to the Projection "4.1.c. Physical Chains" to see the result.

In this example, we will use the Physical Chain that we previously created, called "Mouse to Motherboard Chain" (to which we added some components and Enabling Systems).

It is important to highlight that when you add a component to a Physical Chain, its physical relations will be added too. Some of them will be displayed with a question mark, since their Producers / Consumers are not added to the Physical Chain (and consequently cannot be displayed in it).

Show / Hide Attribute

To hide an object, you need to right click on it and make "Hide". It is possible to hide several object by selecting them and make "Hide x objects" (Warning: flows can be regroup to only one arrow)



In our example, we hide the Physical Relations coming from Motherboard that did not have a Physical Interface added to our Physical Chain. The result should look similar to this:

Add Objects from the Dictionary to a Physical Chain

After adding your Physical Chain, you can add other Objects to it by right-clicking on it -> Add Existing Object -> component / enabling system / Physical Interface. This will allow you to add the objects already defined in the Projection 4.1. Define Physical Architecture.


Then, the Dictionary opens and you can choose a set of objects to be added to the Physical Chain. In the following example you will see how we add components to the Physical Chain through the components Dictionary:

You may do the same in order to add the desired Enabling Systems and Physical Interfaces to the Physical Chain.

The added components and their corresponding Physical relations, as well as the Physical Interfaces and Enabling Systems are added to the Physical Interface. In the example, we hide the Physical Relations with question marks, or not relevant to the Physical Chain.


Add Comment in Physical Chain

It is possible to add Comments in Physical Chains. Furthermore, it is possible to do so in Objects listed in Physical Chains as well.

Just use the Palette or right-click in the Physical Chain or object and choose "Add New Object" -> "Comment".



Note that if you insert a Comment in a Physical Chain, it will be specific to it, and you will not be able to see it elsewhere.

However, if you put a Comment in an Object added to a Physical Chain, this comment can be seen wherever the object is.

Object's colors in Physical Chains

ArKItect allows you to change the objects colors when viewed from a particular chain. This color will be visible only inside that chain, and will return to default when viewed from another chain or to another view. This means, the same object can have different colors in each chain.

This feature is useful when you want to highlight an object in a Physical Chain for a particular reason.

Note that the applied color will not affect the object's color in other views.

Tip: The object's color update is done at the moment you enter a chain, however, in other views, the object's color might be updated by refreshing, or by going back to the object's root.

The procedure will be the following:

Go inside the desired Physical Chain. In our example, we will enter the "Mouse to Motherboard Chain".

Right-click on the object you wish to modify. In this example, we will do so for the "Active cooler" physical interface. Proceed to click on "Graphical Properties".


The following window will display:

Under the Graphical options, click on "Fill".

Once there, you are able to change some fill properties for the object. We will change the Foreground color.

We proceed to save the changes. The result is the following:

In the case of the physical relations, the procedure is the same, although instead of changing the fill color properties, we will change the "Link Line".


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