Eamon is looking to create a new method for calculating structural failure probability

A researcher from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan recently received a three-year, $250,000 grant to create a new method for calculating structural failure probability.

The grant was awarded to Christopher Eamon, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Wayne State University. The National Science Foundation provided the $250,000 grant in an effort to reach heightened consistency within a structure via the development of new methods for reliability analysis for probabilistically and computationally complex structural engineering problems.

Current methods are capable of providing accurate results via simulation, but these methods can be quite costly and time consuming for complex problems, which can sometimes require several simulations to run an analysis. In fact, a method called the Monte Carlo simulation can take over one million simulations. Eamon said these kinds of analyses can take hours or days to be completed. With such complex problems, introducing uncertainty analysis as well can make repeating the analysis several times challenging.

Eamon is looking to change this by creating a method that is as accurate as the Monte Carlo simulation, but only requires about 1,000 computations. With a less expensive technique that is also less time consuming yet equally accurate, engineers will be able to determine the safety levels of structures, thus refraining from inconsistencies.

"If you don't get the safety factors right, you can get very inconsistent results in terms of safety level from one structure to the next because of different levels of uncertainty, different loads, components and so on," said Eamon. "If you're expending limited resources, it makes no sense to have one structure 10 times as safe as another if they're the same level of importance. We're trying to get the level of safety to be more evenly distributed and more consistent."

Creating this new method could potentially help the areas of civil engineering, medicine and computing as well as mechanical and electrical areas.

Sources: HPCwire, Eurekalert

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