Bayesian networks for uncertainty estimation in the response of dynamic structures

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Calanni Fraccone, Giorgio M.
Volovoi, Vitali
Ruzzene, Massimo
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The dissertation focuses on estimating the uncertainty associated with stress/strain prediction procedures from dynamic test data used in turbine blade analysis. An accurate prediction of the maximum response levels for physical components during in-field operating conditions is essential for evaluating their performance and life characteristics, as well as for investigating how their behavior critically impacts system design and reliability assessment. Currently, stress/strain inference for a dynamic system is based on the combination of experimental data and results from the analytical/numerical model of the component under consideration. Both modeling challenges and testing limitations, however, contribute to the introduction of various sources of uncertainty within the given estimation procedure, and lead ultimately to diminished accuracy and reduced confidence in the predicted response. The objective of this work is to characterize the uncertainties present in the current response estimation process and provide a means to assess them quantitatively. More specifically, proposed in this research is a statistical methodology based on a Bayesian-network representation of the modeling process which allows for a statistically rigorous synthesis of modeling assumptions and information from experimental data. Such a framework addresses the problem of multi-directional uncertainty propagation, where standard techniques for unidirectional propagation from inputs' uncertainty to outputs' variability are not suited. Furthermore, it allows for the inclusion within the analysis of newly available test data that can provide indirect evidence on the parameters of the structure's analytical model, as well as lead to a reduction of the residual uncertainty in the estimated quantities. As part of this work, key uncertainty sources (i.e., material and geometric properties, sensor measurement and placement, as well as noise due data processing limitations) are investigated, and their impact upon the system response estimates is assessed through sensitivity studies. The results are utilized for the identification of the most significant contributors to uncertainty to be modeled within the developed Bayesian inference scheme. Simulated experimentation, statistically equivalent to specified real tests, is also constructed to generate the data necessary to build the appropriate Bayesian network, which is then infused with actual experimental information for the purpose of explaining the uncertainty embedded in the response predictions and quantifying their inherent accuracy.
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