Abstract

An accurate input statistical model has been assumed in most of reliability-based design optimization (RBDO) to concentrate on variability of random variables. However, only limited number of data are available to quantify the input statistical model in practical engineering applications. In other words, irreducible variability and reducible uncertainty due to lack of knowledge exist simultaneously in random design variables. Therefore, the uncertainty in reliability induced by insufficient data has to be accounted for RBDO to guarantee confidence of reliability. The uncertainty of input distributions is successfully propagated to a cumulative distribution function (CDF) of reliability under normality assumptions, but it requires a number of function evaluations in double-loop Monte Carlo simulation (MCS). To tackle this challenge, reliability measure approach (RMA) in confidence-based design optimization (CBDO) is proposed to handle the randomness of reliability following the idea of performance measure approach (PMA) in RBDO. Input distribution parameters are transformed to the standard normal space for most probable point (MPP) search with respect to reliability. Therefore, the reliability is approximated at MPP with respect to input distribution parameters. The proposed CBDO can treat confidence constraints employing the reliability value at the target confidence level that is approximated by MPP in P-space. In conclusion, the proposed method can significantly reduce the number of function evaluations by eliminating outer-loop MCS while maintaining acceptable accuracy.

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