A Probabilistic Fracture Mechanics Approach for Structural Reliability Assessment of Space Flight Systems

    Published: Jan 1992

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    A probabilistic fracture mechanics approach for predicting the failure life distribution due to subcritical crack growth is presented. A state-of-the-art crack propagation method is used in a Monte Carlo simulation to generate a distribution of failure lives. The crack growth failure model expresses failure life as a function of stochastic parameters including environment, loads, material properties, geometry, and model specification errors. A stochastic crack growth rate model that considers the uncertainties due to scatter in the data and model misspecification is proposed. The rationale for choosing a particular type of probability distribution for each stochastic input parameter and for specifying the distribution parameters is presented. The approach is demonstrated through a probabilistic crack growth failure analysis of a welded tube in the Space Shuttle Main Engine. A discussion of the results from this application of the methodology is given.


    probabilistic fracture mechanics, reliability assessment, stochastic crack growth model, probability of failure, probabilistic failure assessment

    Author Information:

    Sutharshana, S
    Member Technical Staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

    Creager, M
    President, Structural Integrity Engineering, Chatsworth, CA

    Ebbeler, D
    Member Technical Staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

    Moore, N
    Member Technical Staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

    Committee/Subcommittee: E08.04

    DOI: 10.1520/STP24162S

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