The utility of many controlled dynamic systems is impaired by excessive power consumption and related hardware. In this paper, the potential for energy regeneration in a broad class of dynamic subsystems is considered. In doing so, we consider the potential for a dynamic subsystem to be self-contained and self-sustaining. The development begins with a definition for subsystem passivity and new definitions for subsystem regenerativity and activity. While diagnosis of a passive subsystem can be made simply through observation of the isolated subsystem, it is shown that the diagnosis of a subsystem as either regenerative or active, in general, requires the computation of the subsystem’s average power absorption. Consequently, the accuracy of such a diagnosis depends upon the level of knowledge regarding the overall system and its inputs. Simple mass suspension examples are provided to demonstrate the developed theory.

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