Simscape File Types and Structure

Simscape File Type

The Simscape™ file is a dedicated file type in the MATLAB® environment. It has the extension .ssc.

The Simscape file contains language constructs that do not exist in MATLAB. They are specific to modeling physical objects. However, the Simscape file incorporates the basic MATLAB programming syntax at the lowest level.

Simscape files must reside in a +package directory on the MATLAB path:

  • directory_on_the_path/+MyPackage/MyComponent.ssc

  • directory_on_the_path/+MyPackage/+Subpackage/.../MyComponent.ssc

For more information on packaging your Simscape files, see Organizing Your Simscape Files.

File and Model Types

There are two types of Simscape files that correspond to the two model types:

  • Domain models describe the physical domains through which component models exchange energy and data. These physical domains correspond to port types, for example, translational, rotational, hydraulic, and so on.

  • Component models describe the physical components that you want to model, that is, they correspond to Simscape blocks.

For example, to implement a variable area hydraulic orifice that is different from the one in the Simscape Foundation library, you can create a component model, MyVarOrifice.ssc, based on the standard hydraulic domain included in the Foundation library. However, to implement a simple thermohydraulic orifice, you can create a domain model first, t_hyd.ssc (a custom hydraulic domain that accounts for fluid temperature), and then create the component model that references it, MyThhOrifice.ssc, as well as all the other component models based on this custom domain and needed for modeling thermohydraulic systems. For an example, see Custom Library with Propagation of Domain Parameters.

The third file type, function files, represents Simscape functions. Simscape functions model a class of pure first-order mathematical functions with explicit input-output relationship. Their purpose is to reuse expressions in equations and member declarations of multiple components.

Model File Structure

Each model is defined in its own file of the same name with a .ssc extension. For example, MyComponent is defined in MyComponent.ssc. A model may be a domain model or a component model. Each Simscape file starts with a line specifying the model class and identifier:

ModelClass Identifier


  • ModelClass is either domain or component

  • Identifier is the name of the model

For example:

domain rotational


component spring

A Simscape file splits the model description into the following pieces:

  • Interface or Declaration — Declarative section similar to the MATLAB class system declarations:

    • For domain models, declares variables (Across and Through) and parameters

    • For component models, declares nodes, inputs and outputs, parameters, and variables

  • Implementation (only for component models) — Describes run-time functionality of the model. Implementation consists of the following sections:

    • Setup — Performs initialization and setup. Executed once for each instance of the component in the top-level model during model compilation.

    • Structure — For composite components, describes how the constituent components' ports are connected to one another and to the external inputs, outputs, and nodes of the top-level component. Executed once for each instance of the component in the top-level model during model compilation.

    • Equation — For behavioral components, describes underlying equations. Executed throughout simulation.

    • Events — For discrete event modeling, lets you perform discrete changes on continuous variables. Executed throughout simulation.

Like the MATLAB class system, these constructs and functions act on a specific instance of the class.

Unlike the MATLAB class system:

  • The object is not passed as the first argument to function. This reduces syntax with no loss of functionality.

  • These functions have specific roles in the component lifecycle, as shown in the following diagram.

Component Instance Lifecycle

Top-Level Model Construction
  1. Invokes file name from MATLAB to construct component instance

  2. Adds component instance to top-level model

  3. Sets parameters on component instance

  4. Connects component instance to other members of the top-level model

Top-Level Model Compilation
  1. Calls the setup function once for each component instance in the top-level model

Top-Level Model Simulation
  1. (Conceptually) calls the equations function for each component instance in the top-level model repeatedly throughout the simulation

Related Examples

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