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ESTIMATING UNCERTAINTIES FROM INACCURATE MEASUREMENT DATA USING MAXIMUM ENTROPY DISTRIBUTIONS
(2010)

Modern engineering design often considers uncertainties in geometrical and material parameters and in the loading conditions. Based on initial assumptions on the stochastic properties as mean values, standard deviations and the distribution functions of these uncertain parameters a probabilistic analysis is carried out. In many application fields probabilities of the exceedance of failure criteria are computed. The out-coming failure probability is strongly dependent on the initial assumptions on the random variable properties. Measurements are always more or less inaccurate data due to varying environmental conditions during the measurement procedure. Furthermore the estimation of stochastic properties from a limited number of realisation also causes uncertainties in these quantities. Thus the assumption of exactly known stochastic properties by neglecting these uncertainties may not lead to very useful probabilistic measures in a design process. In this paper we assume the stochastic properties of a random variable as uncertain quantities caused by so-called epistemic uncertainties. Instead of predefined distribution types we use the maximum entropy distribution which enables the description of a wide range of distribution functions based on the first four stochastic moments. These moments are taken again as random variables to model the epistemic scatter in the stochastic assumptions. The main point of this paper is the discussion on the estimation of these uncertain stochastic properties based on inaccurate measurements. We investigate the bootstrap algorithm for its applicability to quantify the uncertainties in the stochastic properties considering imprecise measurement data. Based on the obtained estimates we apply standard stochastic analysis on a simple example to demonstrate the difference and the necessity of the proposed approach.

In engineering science the modeling and numerical analysis of complex systems and relations plays an important role. In order to realize such an investigation, for example a stochastic analysis, in a reasonable computational time, approximation procedure have been developed. A very famous approach is the response surface method, where the relation between input and output quantities is represented for example by global polynomials or local interpolation schemes as Moving Least Squares (MLS). In recent years artificial neural networks (ANN) have been applied as well for such purposes. Recently an adaptive response surface approach for reliability analyses was proposed, which is very efficient concerning the number of expensive limit state function evaluations. Due to the applied simplex interpolation the procedure is limited to small dimensions. In this paper this approach is extended for larger dimensions using combined ANN and MLS response surfaces for evaluating the adaptation criterion with only one set of joined limit state points. As adaptation criterion a combination by using the maximum difference in the conditional probabilities of failure and the maximum difference in the approximated radii is applied. Compared to response surfaces on directional samples or to plain directional sampling the failure probability can be estimated with a much smaller number of limit state points.

The modeling of crack propagation in plain and reinforced concrete structures is still a field for many researchers. If a macroscopic description of the cohesive cracking process of concrete is applied, generally the Fictitious Crack Model is utilized, where a force transmission over micro cracks is assumed. In the most applications of this concept the cohesive model represents the relation between the normal crack opening and the normal stress, which is mostly defined as an exponential softening function, independently from the shear stresses in tangential direction. The cohesive forces are then calculated only from the normal stresses. By Carol et al. 1997 an improved model was developed using a coupled relation between the normal and shear damage based on an elasto-plastic constitutive formulation. This model is based on a hyperbolic yield surface depending on the normal and the shear stresses and on the tensile and shear strength. This model also represents the effect of shear traction induced crack opening. Due to the elasto-plastic formulation, where the inelastic crack opening is represented by plastic strains, this model is limited for applications with monotonic loading. In order to enable the application for cases with un- and reloading the existing model is extended in this study using a combined plastic-damage formulation, which enables the modeling of crack opening and crack closure. Furthermore the corresponding algorithmic implementation using a return mapping approach is presented and the model is verified by means of several numerical examples. Finally an investigation concerning the identification of the model parameters by means of neural networks is presented. In this analysis an inverse approximation of the model parameters is performed by using a given set of points of the load displacement curves as input values and the model parameters as output terms. It will be shown, that the elasto-plastic model parameters could be identified well with this approach, but require a huge number of simulations.

The Element-free Galerkin Method has become a very popular tool for the simulation of mechanical problems with moving boundaries. The internally applied Moving Least Squares approximation uses in general Gaussian or cubic weighting functions and has compact support. Due to the approximative character of this method the obtained shape functions do not fulfill the interpolation condition, which causes additional numerical effort for the imposition of the essential boundary conditions. The application of a singular weighting function, which leads to singular coefficient matrices at the nodes, can solve this problem, but requires a very careful placement of the integration points. Special procedures for the handling of such singular matrices were proposed in literature, which require additional numerical effort. In this paper a non-singular weighting function is presented, which leads to an exact fulfillment of the interpolation condition. This weighting function leads to regular values of the weights and the coefficient matrices in the whole interpolation domain even at the nodes. Furthermore this function gives much more stable results for varying size of the influence radius and for strongly distorted nodal arrangements than classical weighting function types. Nevertheless, for practical applications the results are similar as these obtained with the regularized weighting type presented by the authors in previous publications. Finally a new concept will be presented, which enables an efficient analysis of systems with strongly varying node density. In this concept the nodal influence domains are adapted depending on the nodal configuration by interpolating the influence radius for each direction from the distances to the natural neighbor nodes. This approach requires a Voronoi diagram of the domain, which is available in this study since Delaunay triangles are used as integration background cells. In the numerical examples it will be shown, that this method leads to a more uniform and reduced number of influencing nodes for systems with varying node density than the classical circular influence domains, which means that the small additional numerical effort for interpolating the influence radius leads to remarkable reduction of the total numerical cost in a linear analysis while obtaining similar results. For nonlinear calculations this advantage would be even more significant.