McGraw-Hill's Engineering Companion

Chapter 18: Reliability Engineering, Systems Engineering, and Safety Engineering

RELIABILITY ENGINEERING [*]

Reliability is the characteristic of a component, or system made up of many components, expressed by the probability that it will perform its particular function within a specific environment for a given period of time. Since the subject of reliability is obviously concerned with statistical analysis and the prediction of behavior based on tests, it might be considered, at first glance, to be a matter of guesswork or chance. However, reliability predictions have become a precise branch of industrial technology. Reliability engineering plays an invaluable part in the reduction of costly failures and the correct planning of overhaul and maintenance schedules.

Types of Failures

Failure is defined as the inability of a component or system to carry out its specified function. Failures may be categorized in a number of ways according to the degree of failure, the reason for failure, the timing of the failure, and so on. The following are some relevant definitions:

Misuse failure is used to describe failure due to overloading or otherwise ov-erstressing a component or system beyond its capability.

Inherent-weakness failure is used to describe failure due to inherent weakness of the component or system and occurring while the item is being correctly used.

Sudden failure is used to describe failures which could not have been anticipated.

Gradual failure is used to describe failures which could have been anticipated.

Partial failure is one in which the component or system may still function, but not to...

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