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Structural Reliability Using Probability Density Estimation Methods Within NESSUSA reliability analysis studies a mathematical model of a physical system taking into account uncertainties of design variables and common results are estimations of a response density, which also implies estimations of its parameters. Some common density parameters include the mean value, the standard deviation, and specific percentile(s) of the response, which are measures of central tendency, variation, and probability regions, respectively. Reliability analyses are important since the results can lead to different designs by calculating the probability of observing safe responses in each of the proposed designs. All of this is done at the expense of added computational time as compared to a single deterministic analysis which will result in one value of the response out of many that make up the density of the response. Sampling methods, such as monte carlo (MC) and latin hypercube sampling (LHS), can be used to perform reliability analyses and can compute nonlinear response density parameters even if the response is dependent on many random variables. Hence, both methods are very robust; however, they are computationally expensive to use in the estimation of the response density parameters. Both methods are 2 of 13 stochastic methods that are contained within the Numerical Evaluation of Stochastic Structures Under Stress (NESSUS) program. NESSUS is a probabilistic finite element analysis (FEA) program that was developed through funding from NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC). It has the additional capability of being linked to other analysis programs; therefore, probabilistic fluid dynamics, fracture mechanics, and heat transfer are only a few of what is possible with this software. The LHS method is the newest addition to the stochastic methods within NESSUS. Part of this work was to enhance NESSUS with the LHS method. The new LHS module is complete, has been successfully integrated with NESSUS, and been used to study four different test cases that have been proposed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The test cases compare different probabilistic methods within NESSUS because it is important that a user can have confidence that estimates of stochastic parameters of a response will be within an acceptable error limit. For each response, the mean, standard deviation, and 0.99 percentile, are repeatedly estimated which allows confidence statements to be made for each parameter estimated, and for each method. Thus, the ability of several stochastic methods to efficiently and accurately estimate density parameters is compared using four valid test cases. While all of the reliability methods used performed quite well, for the new LHS module within NESSUS it was found that it had a lower estimation error than MC when they were used to estimate the mean, standard deviation, and 0.99 percentile of the four different stochastic responses. Also, LHS required a smaller amount of calculations to obtain low error answers with a high amount of confidence than MC. It can therefore be stated that NESSUS is an important reliability tool that has a variety of sound probabilistic methods a user can employ and the newest LHS module is a valuable new enhancement of the program.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Chamis, Chrisos C.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Godines, Cody Ric
(Texas Univ. San Antonio, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 2003
Publication Information
Publication: HBCUs/OMUs Research Conference Agenda and Abstracts
Subject Category
Structural Mechanics
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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