Quantitative structural reliability assurance through finite element analysis
Rice, Christopher W.
Wu, Edward M.
Lindsey, Gerald H.
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Risk assessment of aging aircraft components can be achieved by operational de-rating using a safety factor subjectively selected from experience and heuristics. This investigation involves synthesizing currently available, maturing computer-aided methods into a format of objective quantitative risk assessment. The methodology is applied to quantify the effect of corrosion on P-3C main landing gear lower drag struts. This kind of synthesis is appropriate wherever structural operational risk is a concern. The P-3 has undergone many modifications since the 195Os and the lower drag struts are being scrapped due to internal surface corrosion. The corrosion process is random, resulting in pits varied spatially and in severity. These corrosion attributes are merged into a one random variable probability model. The casual relation of the corrosion to structural load is analyzed by finite elements. The structural configuration model input is provided by computer-aided drafting, verified by physical measurement. The effect of corrosion on current strut population reliability, as well as the future, is computed. The conclusion is that even under severe corrosion, compressive buckling is not an issue. All the other failure modes (compressive yielding, tensile yielding, and fracture by fatigue) can be assured by one cold temperature proof test.
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