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Adaptive simulation for system reliability analysis of large structures
Authors:Sankaran Mahadevan  Prakash Raghothamachar
Institution:

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University, P.O. Box 6077-B, Nashville, TN 37235, USA

Abstract:This article proposes an efficient simulation-based methodology to estimate the system reliability of large structures. The proposed method uses a hybrid approach: first, a probabilistic enumeration technique is used to identify a significant system failure sequence. This provides an initial sampling domain for an adaptive importance sampling procedure. As further simulations are performed, information about other significant sequences is incorporated to refine the sampling domain and to estimate the failure probability of the system. The adaptive sampling overcomes the restrictive assumptions of analytical techniques, yet achieves the robustness and accuracy of basic Monte Carlo simulation in an efficient manner. In this article, the proposed method is implemented using the ANSYS finite element software, and is applied to the system reliability estimation of two redundant structural systems, a six-story building frame and a transmission tower. Both ductile and brittle failure modes are considered. The method is structured in a modular form such that it can be easily applied to different types of problems and commercial software, thus facilitating practical application.
Keywords:Reliability  Structural system  Monte Carlo simulation  Importance sampling  Finite elements  Frames  Trusses
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