This paper presents a general approach for probabilistic constraint evaluation in the reliability-based design optimization (RBDO). Different perspectives of the general approach are consistent in prescribing the probabilistic constraint, where the conventional reliability index approach (RIA) and the proposed performance measure approach (PMA) are identified as two special cases. PMA is shown to be inherently robust and more efficient in evaluating inactive probabilistic constraints, while RIA is more efficient for violated probabilistic constraints. Moreover, RBDO often yields a higher rate of convergence by using PMA, while RIA yields singularity in some cases.

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