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On Failure Modeling. Revised.
FORD AEROSPACE AND COMMUNICATIONS CORP PALO ALTO CA WESTERN DEVELOPMENT LABS DIV
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A promising approach to failure modeling, in particular to developing failure-time distributions, is discussed. Under this approach, system state or wear and tear is modeled by an appropriately chosen random process, eg, a diffusion process and the occurrences of fatal shocks are modeled by a Poisson process whose rate function is state dependent. The system is said to fail when either wear and tear accumulates beyond an acceptable or safe level or a fatal shock occurs. This approach has significant merit. First it provides revealing new insights into most of the famous and frequently used lifetime distributions in reliability theory. Moreover, it suggests intuitively appealing ways for enhancing those standard models. Indeed, this approach provides a means of representing the underlying dynamics inherent in failure processes. Reasonable postulates for the dynamics of failure should lend credence to prediction and estimation of reliability, maintainability, and availability. In other words, accuracy of representation could lead to better, more reliable prediction of failure.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE