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Structural Engineering and Mechanics
  Volume 25, Number 3, February20 2007 , pages 311-330

The effects of uncertainties in structural analysis
M. F. Pellissetti and G. I. Schueller

    Model-based predictions of structural behavior are negatively affected by uncertainties of various type and in various stages of the structural analysis. The present paper focusses on dynamic analysis and addresses the effects of uncertainties concerning material and geometric parameters, mainly in the context of modal analysis of large-scale structures. Given the large number of uncertain parameters arising in this case, highly scalable simulation-based methods are adopted, which can deal with possibly thousands of uncertain parameters. In order to solve the reliability problem, i.e., the estimation of very small exceedance probabilities, an advanced simulation method called Line Sampling is used. In combination with an efficient algorithm for the estimation of the most important uncertain parameters, the method provides good estimates of the failure probability and enables one to quantify the error in the estimate. Another aspect here considered is the uncertainty quantification for closely-spaced eigenfrequencies. The solution here adopted represents each eigenfrequency as a weighted superposition of the full set of eigenfrequencies. In a case study performed with the FE model of a satellite it is shown that the effects of uncertain parameters can be very different in magnitude, depending on the considered response quantity. In particular, the uncertainty in the quantities of interest (eigenfrequencies) turns out to be mainly caused by very few of the uncertain parameters, which results in sharp estimates of the failure probabilities at low computational cost.
Key Words
    uncertainty modeling; uncertainty quantification; model uncertainties; structural reliability; Monte Carlo simulation
M. F. Pellissetti and G. I. Schueller; Institute of Engineering Mechanics, Leopold-Franzens University, Technikerstr. 13, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria, EU

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