Probabilistic Reliability
Office of Automotive Engineering

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image of graph showing how SwRI applies advanced probabilistic fracture mechanics

SwRI applies advanced probabilistic fracture mechanics to determine the probability distribution of fatigue life of a crankshaft. Probabilistic sensitivity factors are computed from the analysis to indicate the variables most affecting the structure's reliability.

In an effort to develop faster, better, and more cost effective ways to design, manufacture, and maintain engine systems, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) engineers have pioneered the integration of advanced reliability methods and failure models.

SwRI's globally recognized staff has extensive experience in engine noise evaluation and assessment, source and path evaluation, as well as component design and remedial action for low noise.


The SwRI-developed risk assessment computer code, NESSUS, integrates highly efficient reliability methodology with other failure mode analysis, such as finite element analysis (FEA), using minimal computational time.

Some of the benefits of this approach include the ability to:

  • Quantify reliability and safety
  • Identify key variables and their influence early in the design process
  • Integrate cost and risk assessments into engineering decisions

Related Terminology

probabilistic reliability  •  engine design failure models  •  engine design reliability  •  engine  •  engines  •  engine design  •  gasoline  •  diesel  •  large engine  •  large engines  •  gas engine  •  gas engines  •  industrial engine  •  industrial engines  •  aircraft engine  •  aircraft engines  •  truck  •  locomotive  •  marine engine  •  marine engines  •  power generation  •  standby power  •  stand-by power  •  concept design  •  definitive design  •  engine prototype  •  rapid prototype  •  rapid prototyping  •  design analysis  •  engine testing  •  cycle simulation  •  CFD  •  CAE  •  2 stroke  •  two stroke  •  two-stroke  •  4 stroke  •  four stroke  •  four-stroke  •  heavy fuel  •  NVH  •  flow testing  •  engine emissions  •  emissions  •  exhaust emissions  •  engine consulting  •  engine evaluation  •  noise  •  risk assessment  •  valve recession  •  kinematics  •  dynamics  •  structural analysis  •  thermodynamic analysis  •  unique engines  •  fatigue analysis

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.