Probability-based prediction of degrading dynamic systems

Gordon J. Savage, Turuna S. Seecharan, Young Kap Son

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This paper presents a methodology to provide the cumulative failure distribution (CDF) for degrading, uncertain, and dynamic systems. The uniqueness and novelty of the methodology is that long service time over which degradation occurs has been augmented with much shorter cycle time over which there is uncertainty in the system dynamics due to uncertain design variables. The significance of the proposed methodology is that it sets the foundation for setting realistic life-cycle management policies for dynamic systems. The methodology first replaces the implicit mechanistic model with a simple explicit meta-model with the help of design of experiments and singular value decomposition, then transforms the dynamic, time variant, probabilistic problem into a sequence of time invariant steady-state probability problems using cycle-time performance measures and discrete service time, and finally, builds the CDF as the summation of the incremental service-time failure probabilities over the planned life time. For multiple failure modes and multiple discrete service times, set theory establishes a sequence of true incremental failure regions. A practical implementation of the theory requires only two contiguous service-times. Probabilities may be evaluated by any convenient method, such as Monte Carlo and the first-order reliability method. Error analysis provides ways to control errors with regards to probability calculations and meta-model fitting. A case study of a common servo-control mechanism shows that the new methodology is sufficiently fast for design purposes and sufficiently accurate for engineering applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number031002
JournalJournal of Mechanical Design, Transactions Of the ASME
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 31 2013


  • design of experiments
  • dynamic systems
  • first-order reliability method
  • meta-models
  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • performance indices
  • random variable degradation
  • set-theory
  • singular value decomposition
  • time-variant reliability

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