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Technical Paper

Multidisciplinary Design Optimization of a Ground Vehicle Track for Durability and Survivability

In this paper a Multi-Level System (MLS) optimization algorithm is presented and utilized for the multi-discipline design of a ground vehicle track. The MLS can guide the decision making process for designing a complex system where many alternatives and many mutually competing objectives and disciplines need to be considered and evaluated. Mathematical relationships between the design variables and the multiple discipline performance objectives are developed adaptively as the various design considerations are evaluated and as the design is being evolved. These relationships are employed for rewarding performance improvement during the decision making process by allocating more resources to the disciplines which exhibit the higher level of improvement. The track analysis demonstrates how a multi-discipline design approach can be pursued in ground vehicle applications.
Technical Paper

A Cost-Driven Method for Design Optimization Using Validated Local Domains

Design optimization often relies on computational models, which are subjected to a validation process to ensure their accuracy. Because validation of computer models in the entire design space can be costly, we have previously proposed an approach where design optimization and model validation, are concurrently performed using a sequential approach with variable-size local domains. We used test data and statistical bootstrap methods to size each local domain where the prediction model is considered validated and where design optimization is performed. The method proceeds iteratively until the optimum design is obtained. This method however, requires test data to be available in each local domain along the optimization path. In this paper, we refine our methodology by using polynomial regression to predict the size and shape of a local domain at some steps along the optimization process without using test data.
Journal Article

A Simulation and Optimization Methodology for Reliability of Vehicle Fleets

Understanding reliability is critical in design, maintenance and durability analysis of engineering systems. A reliability simulation methodology is presented in this paper for vehicle fleets using limited data. The method can be used to estimate the reliability of non-repairable as well as repairable systems. It can optimally allocate, based on a target system reliability, individual component reliabilities using a multi-objective optimization algorithm. The algorithm establishes a Pareto front that can be used for optimal tradeoff between reliability and the associated cost. The method uses Monte Carlo simulation to estimate the system failure rate and reliability as a function of time. The probability density functions (PDF) of the time between failures for all components of the system are estimated using either limited data or a user-supplied MTBF (mean time between failures) and its coefficient of variation.
Journal Article

Enhancing Decision Topology Assessment in Engineering Design

Implications of decision analysis (DA) on engineering design are important and well-documented. However, widespread adoption has not occurred. To that end, the authors recently proposed decision topologies (DT) as a visual method for representing decision situations and proved that they are entirely consistent with normative decision analysis. This paper addresses the practical issue of assessing the DTs of a designer using their responses. As in classical DA, this step is critical to encoding the DA's preferences so that further analysis and mathematical optimization can be performed on the correct set of preferences. We show how multi-attribute DTs can be directly assessed from DM responses. Furthermore, we show that preferences under uncertainty can be trivially incorporated and that topologies can be constructed using single attribute topologies similarly to multi-linear functions in utility analysis. This incremental construction simplifies the process of topology construction.
Journal Article

Uncertainty Assessment in Restraint System Optimization for Occupants of Tactical Vehicles

We have recently obtained experimental data and used them to develop computational models to quantify occupant impact responses and injury risks for military vehicles during frontal crashes. The number of experimental tests and model runs are however, relatively small due to their high cost. While this is true across the auto industry, it is particularly critical for the Army and other government agencies operating under tight budget constraints. In this study we investigate through statistical simulations how the injury risk varies if a large number of experimental tests were conducted. We show that the injury risk distribution is skewed to the right implying that, although most physical tests result in a small injury risk, there are occasional physical tests for which the injury risk is extremely large. We compute the probabilities of such events and use them to identify optimum design conditions to minimize such probabilities.
Journal Article

Investigating Through Simulation the Mobility of Light Tracked Vehicles Operating on Discrete Granular Terrain

This paper presents a computational framework for the physics-based simulation of light vehicles operating on discrete terrain. The focus is on characterizing through simulation the mobility of vehicles that weigh 1000 pounds or less, such as a reconnaissance robot. The terrain is considered to be deformable and is represented as a collection of bodies of spherical shape. The modeling stage relies on a novel formulation of the frictional contact problem that requires at each time step of the numerical simulation the solution of an optimization problem. The proposed computational framework, when run on ubiquitous Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) cards, allows the simulation of systems in which the terrain is represented by more than 0.5 million bodies leading to problems with more than one million degrees of freedom.
Journal Article

Fire Suppression Modeling & Simulation Framework for Ground Vehicles

The US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) has developed a unique physics based modeling & simulation (M&S) capability using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) techniques to optimize automatic fire extinguishing system (AFES) designs and complement vehicle testing for both occupied and unoccupied spaces of military ground vehicles. The modeling techniques developed are based on reduced global kinetics for computational efficiency and are applicable to fire suppressants that are being used in Army vehicles namely, bromotrifluoromethane (Halon 1301), heptafluoropropane (HFC-227ea, trade name FM200), sodium-bicarbonate (SBC) powder, water + potassium acetate mixture, and pentafluoroethane (HFC-125, trade name, FE-25). These CFD simulations are performed using High Performance Computers (HPC) that enable the Army to assess AFES designs in a virtual world at far less cost than physical-fire tests.
Journal Article

Reliability and Cost Trade-Off Analysis of a Microgrid

Optimizing the trade-off between reliability and cost of operating a microgrid, including vehicles as both loads and sources, can be a challenge. Optimal energy management is crucial to develop strategies to improve the efficiency and reliability of microgrids, as well as new communication networks to support optimal and reliable operation. Prior approaches modeled the grid using MATLAB, but did not include the detailed physics of loads and sources, and therefore missed the transient effects that are present in real-time operation of a microgrid. This article discusses the implementation of a physics-based detailed microgrid model including a diesel generator, wind turbine, photovoltaic array, and utility. All elements are modeled as sources in Simulink. Various loads are also implemented including an asynchronous motor. We show how a central control algorithm optimizes the microgrid by trying to maximize reliability while reducing operational cost.
Technical Paper

A Methodology of Design for Fatigue Using an Accelerated Life Testing Approach with Saddlepoint Approximation

We present an Accelerated Life Testing (ALT) methodology along with a design for fatigue approach, using Gaussian or non-Gaussian excitations. The accuracy of fatigue life prediction at nominal loading conditions is affected by model and material uncertainty. This uncertainty is reduced by performing tests at a higher loading level, resulting in a reduction in test duration. Based on the data obtained from experiments, we formulate an optimization problem to calculate the Maximum Likelihood Estimator (MLE) values of the uncertain model parameters. In our proposed ALT method, we lift all the assumptions on the type of life distribution or the stress-life relationship and we use Saddlepoint Approximation (SPA) method to calculate the fatigue life Probability Density Functions (PDFs).