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Journal Article

A Methodology for Design Decisions using Block Diagrams

2013-04-08
2013-01-0947
Our recent work has shown that representation of systems using a reliability block diagram can be used as a decision making tool. In decision making, we called these block diagrams decision topologies. In this paper, we generalize the results and show that decision topologies can be used to make many engineering decisions and can in fact replace decision analysis for most decisions. We also provide a meta-proof that the proposed method using decision topologies is entirely consistent with decision analysis at the limit. The main advantages of the method are that (1) it provides a visual representation of a decision situation, (2) it can easily model tradeoffs, (3) it can incorporate binary attributes, (4) it can model preferences with limited information, and (5) it can be used in a low-fidelity sense to quickly make a decision.
Technical Paper

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

2019-04-02
2019-01-0159
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).
Journal Article

A New Metamodeling Approach for Time-Dependent Reliability of Dynamic Systems with Random Parameters Excited by Input Random Processes

2014-04-01
2014-01-0717
We propose a new metamodeling method to characterize the output (response) random process of a dynamic system with random parameters, excited by input random processes. The metamodel can be then used to efficiently estimate the time-dependent reliability of a dynamic system using analytical or simulation-based methods. The metamodel is constructed by decomposing the input random processes using principal components or wavelets and then using a few simulations to estimate the distributions of the decomposition coefficients. A similar decomposition is also performed on the output random process. A kriging model is then established between the input and output decomposition coefficients and subsequently used to quantify the output random process corresponding to a realization of the input random parameters and random processes. What distinguishes our approach from others in metamodeling is that the system input is not deterministic but random.
Journal Article

A Re-Analysis Methodology for System RBDO Using a Trust Region Approach with Local Metamodels

2010-04-12
2010-01-0645
A simulation-based, system reliability-based design optimization (RBDO) method is presented that can handle problems with multiple failure regions and correlated random variables. Copulas are used to represent the correlation. The method uses a Probabilistic Re-Analysis (PRRA) approach in conjunction with a trust-region optimization approach and local metamodels covering each trust region. PRRA calculates very efficiently the system reliability of a design by performing a single Monte Carlo (MC) simulation per trust region. Although PRRA is based on MC simulation, it calculates “smooth” sensitivity derivatives, allowing therefore, the use of a gradient-based optimizer. The PRRA method is based on importance sampling. It provides accurate results, if the support of the sampling PDF contains the support of the joint PDF of the input random variables. The sequential, trust-region optimization approach satisfies this requirement.
Journal Article

A Simulation and Optimization Methodology for Reliability of Vehicle Fleets

2011-04-12
2011-01-0725
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

Flexible Design and Operation of a Smart Charging Microgrid

2014-04-01
2014-01-0716
The reliability theory of repairable systems is vastly different from that of non-repairable systems. The authors have recently proposed a ‘decision-based’ framework to design and maintain repairable systems for optimal performance and reliability using a set of metrics such as minimum failure free period, number of failures in planning horizon (lifecycle), and cost. The optimal solution includes the initial design, the system maintenance throughout the planning horizon, and the protocol to operate the system. In this work, we extend this idea by incorporating flexibility and demonstrate our approach using a smart charging electric microgrid architecture. The flexibility is realized by allowing the architecture to change with time. Our approach “learns” the working characteristics of the microgrid. We use actual load and supply data over a short time to quantify the load and supply random processes and also establish the correlation between them.
Technical Paper

Managing the Computational Cost in a Monte Carlo Simulation by Considering the Value of Information

2012-04-16
2012-01-0915
Monte Carlo simulation is a popular tool for reliability assessment because of its robustness and ease of implementation. A major concern with this method is its computational cost; standard Monte Carlo simulation requires quadrupling the number of replications for halving the standard deviation of the estimated failure probability. Efforts to increase efficiency focus on intelligent sampling procedures and methods for efficient calculation of the performance function of a system. This paper proposes a new method to manage cost that views design as a decision among alternatives with uncertain reliabilities. Information from a simulation has value only if it enables the designer to make a better choice among the alternative options. Consequently, the value of information from the simulation is equal to the gain from using this information to improve the decision. A designer can determine the number of replications that are worth performing by using the method.
Journal Article

Managing the Computational Cost of Monte Carlo Simulation with Importance Sampling by Considering the Value of Information

2013-04-08
2013-01-0943
Importance Sampling is a popular method for reliability assessment. Although it is significantly more efficient than standard Monte Carlo simulation if a suitable sampling distribution is used, in many design problems it is too expensive. The authors have previously proposed a method to manage the computational cost in standard Monte Carlo simulation that views design as a choice among alternatives with uncertain reliabilities. Information from simulation has value only if it helps the designer make a better choice among the alternatives. This paper extends their method to Importance Sampling. First, the designer estimates the prior probability density functions of the reliabilities of the alternative designs and calculates the expected utility of the choice of the best design. Subsequently, the designer estimates the likelihood function of the probability of failure by performing an initial simulation with Importance Sampling.
Journal Article

Mean-Value Second-Order Saddlepoint Approximation for Reliability Analysis

2017-03-28
2017-01-0207
A new second-order Saddlepoint Approximation (SA) method for structural reliability analysis is introduced. The Mean-value Second-order Saddlepoint Approximation (MVSOSA) is presented as an extension to the Mean-value First-order Saddlepoint Approximation (MVFOSA). The proposed method is based on a second-order Taylor expansion of the limit state function around the mean value of the input random variables. It requires not only the first but also the second-order sensitivity derivatives of the limit state function. If sensitivity analysis must be avoided because of computational cost, a quadrature integration approach, based on sparse grids, is also presented and linked to the saddlepoint approximation (SGSA - Sparse Grid Saddlepoint Approximation). The SGSA method is compared with the first and second-order SA methods in terms of accuracy and efficiency. The proposed MVSOSA and SGSA methods are used in the reliability analysis of two examples.
Technical Paper

Modeling the Stiffness and Damping Properties of Styrene-Butadiene Rubber

2011-05-17
2011-01-1628
Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (SBR), a copolymer of butadiene and styrene, is widely used in the automotive industry due to its high durability and resistance to abrasion, oils and oxidation. Some of the common applications include tires, vibration isolators, and gaskets, among others. This paper characterizes the dynamic behavior of SBR and discusses the suitability of a visco-elastic model of elastomers, known as the Kelvin model, from a mathematical and physical point of view. An optimization algorithm is used to estimate the parameters of the Kelvin model. The resulting model was shown to produce reasonable approximations of measured dynamic stiffness. The model was also used to calculate the self heating of the elastomer due to energy dissipation by the viscous damping components in the model. Developing such a predictive capability is essential in understanding the dynamic behavior of elastomers considering that their dynamic stiffness can in general depend on temperature.
Journal Article

Optimal Preventive Maintenance Schedule Based on Lifecycle Cost and Time-Dependent Reliability

2012-04-16
2012-01-0070
Reliability is an important engineering requirement for consistently delivering acceptable product performance through time. It also affects the scheduling for preventive maintenance. Reliability usually degrades with time increasing therefore, the lifecycle cost due to more frequent failures which result in increased warranty costs, costly repairs and loss of market share. In a lifecycle cost based design, we must account for product quality and preventive maintenance using time-dependent reliability. Quality is a measure of our confidence that the product conforms to specifications as it leaves the factory. For a repairable system, preventive maintenance is scheduled to avoid failures, unnecessary production loss and safety violations. This article proposes a methodology to obtain the optimal scheduling for preventive maintenance using time-dependent reliability principles.
Journal Article

Reanalysis of Linear Dynamic Systems using Modified Combined Approximations with Frequency Shifts

2016-04-05
2016-01-1338
Weight reduction is very important in automotive design because of stringent demand on fuel economy. Structural optimization of dynamic systems using finite element (FE) analysis plays an important role in reducing weight while simultaneously delivering a product that meets all functional requirements for durability, crash and NVH. With advancing computer technology, the demand for solving large FE models has grown. Optimization is however costly due to repeated full-order analyses. Reanalysis methods can be used in structural vibrations to reduce the analysis cost from repeated eigenvalue analyses for both deterministic and probabilistic problems. Several reanalysis techniques have been introduced over the years including Parametric Reduced Order Modeling (PROM), Combined Approximations (CA) and the Epsilon algorithm, among others.
Journal Article

Reliability and Cost Trade-Off Analysis of a Microgrid

2018-04-03
2018-01-0619
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

Reliability and Resiliency Definitions for Smart Microgrids Based on Utility Theory

2017-03-28
2017-01-0205
Reliability and resiliency (R&R) definitions differ depending on the system under consideration. Generally, each engineering sector defines relevant R&R metrics pertinent to their system. While this can impede cross-disciplinary engineering projects as well as research, it is a necessary strategy to capture all the relevant system characteristics. This paper highlights the difficulties associated with defining performance of such systems while using smart microgrids as an example. Further, it develops metrics and definitions that are useful in assessing their performance, based on utility theory. A microgrid must not only anticipate load conditions but also tolerate partial failures and remain optimally operating. Many of these failures happen infrequently but unexpectedly and therefore are hard to plan for. We discuss real life failure scenarios and show how the proposed definitions and metrics are beneficial.
Technical Paper

System Failure Identification using Linear Algebra: Application to Cost-Reliability Tradeoffs under Uncertain Preferences

2012-04-16
2012-01-0914
Reaching a system level reliability target is an inverse problem. Component level reliabilities are determined for a required system level reliability. Because this inverse problem does not have a unique solution, one approach is to tradeoff system reliability with cost and to allow the designer to select a design with a target system reliability, using his/her preferences. In this case, the component reliabilities are readily available from the calculation of the reliability-cost tradeoff. To arrive at the set of solutions to be traded off, one encounters two problems. First, the system reliability calculation is based on repeated system simulations where each system state, indicating which components work and which have failed, is tested to determine if it causes system failure, and second, the task of eliciting and encoding the decision maker's preferences is extremely difficult because of uncertainty in modeling the decision maker's preferences.
Journal Article

System Topology Identification with Limited Test Data

2012-04-16
2012-01-0064
In this article we present an approach to identify the system topology using simulation for reliability calculations. The system topology provides how all components in a system are functionally connected. Most reliability engineering literature assumes that either the system topology is known and therefore all failure modes can be deduced or if the system topology is not known we are only interested in identifying the dominant failure modes. The authors contend that we should try to extract as much information about the system topology from failure or success information of a system as possible. This will not only identify the dominant failure modes but will also provide an understanding of how the components are functionally connected, allowing for more complicated analyses, if needed. We use an evolutionary approach where system topologies are generated at random and then tested against failure or success data. The topologies evolve based on how consistent they are with test data.
Journal Article

Time-Dependent Reliability Analysis Using a Modified Composite Limit State Approach

2017-03-28
2017-01-0206
Recent developments in time-dependent reliability have introduced the concept of a composite limit state. The composite limit state method can be used to calculate the time-dependent probability of failure for dynamic systems with limit-state functions of input random variables, input random processes and explicit in time. The probability of failure can be calculated exactly using the composite limit state if the instantaneous limit states are linear, forming an open or close polytope, and are functions of only two random variables. In this work, the restriction on the number of random variables is lifted. The proposed algorithm is accurate and efficient for linear instantaneous limit state functions of any number of random variables. An example on the design of a hydrokinetic turbine blade under time-dependent river flow load demonstrates the accuracy of the proposed general composite limit state approach.
Journal Article

Time-Dependent Reliability of Random Dynamic Systems Using Time-Series Modeling and Importance Sampling

2011-04-12
2011-01-0728
Reliability is an important engineering requirement for consistently delivering acceptable product performance through time. As time progresses, the product may fail due to time-dependent operating conditions and material properties, component degradation, etc. The reliability degradation with time may increase the lifecycle cost due to potential warranty costs, repairs and loss of market share. Reliability is the probability that the system will perform its intended function successfully for a specified time interval. In this work, we consider the first-passage reliability which accounts for the first time failure of non-repairable systems. Methods are available in the literature, which provide an upper bound to the true reliability which may overestimate the true value considerably. Monte-Carlo simulations are accurate but computationally expensive.
Journal Article

Time-Dependent Reliability-Based Design Optimization of Vibratory Systems

2017-03-28
2017-01-0194
A methodology for time-dependent reliability-based design optimization of vibratory systems with random parameters under stationary excitation is presented. The time-dependent probability of failure is computed using an integral equation which involves up-crossing and joint up-crossing rates. The total probability theorem addresses the presence of the system random parameters and a sparse grid quadrature method calculates the integral of the total probability theorem efficiently. The sensitivity derivatives of the time-dependent probability of failure with respect to the design variables are computed using finite differences. The Modified Combined Approximations (MCA) reanalysis method is used to reduce the overall computational cost from repeated evaluations of the system frequency response or equivalently impulse response function. The method is applied to the shape optimization of a vehicle frame under stochastic loading.
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