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In this paper, we present the application of probabilistic design modeling and reliability-based design optimization (RBDO) methodology to the sizing optimization of a composite advanced submarine sail structure under parametric uncertainty. With the help of probabilistic sensitivity analysis, the influence of individual random variables on each structural failure mode is examined, and the critical modes are treated as probabilistic design constraints under consistent lower bounds on the corresponding reliability indices. Whereas the failure modes are applied to structural components in the solution of the RBDO problem, the overall system reliability is also evaluated as a post-optimization step. The results indicate that in comparison to a deterministic optimum design, the structural mass of the probabilistic optimum design is slightly higher when consistent probabilistic constraints are imposed, and the overall structural stiffness is found to be more critical than individual component laminate ply thicknesses in meeting the specified design constraints. Moreover, the post-optimality analysis shows that the overall system failure probability of the probabilistic optimum design is more than 50% lower than that of the deterministic optimal design with less than 5% penalty in structural mass.


Applied Mechanics | Computer-Aided Engineering and Design | Structural Engineering


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Marine Structures. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Marine Structures, 22(2), (2009), available online at: