A formal relationship between factor of safety and reliability is presented. Inasmuch as most engineering application will not economically justify the necessary experimental work to successfully implement the formal approach, a method for making conservative decisions based upon Bienayme-Chebyshev and Camp-Meidell theorems is offered. This step-by-step procedure reminds the engineer of the influence of each piece of information relating to strength and loading upon his factor of safety decision. The potential gain (reduction of weight, cost, etc.) can be compared to the cost of the experimental program necessary to establish modality, skewness, or symmetry.

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