Parameter Estimation Techniques Based on Optimizing Goodness-of-Fit Statistics for Structural Reliability

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Conference Paper

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Publication Title

American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Design Engineering Division (Publication) DE


New methods are presented that utilize the optimization of goodness-of-fit statistics in order to estimate Weibull parameters from failure data. It is assumed that the underlying population is characterized by a three-parameter Weibull distribution. Goodness-of-fit tests are based on the empirical distribution function (EDF). The EDF is a step function, calculated using failure data, and represents an approximation of the cumulative distribution function for the underlying population. Statistics (such as the Kolmogorov-Smirnov statistic and the Anderson-Darling Statistic) measure the discrepancy between the EDF and the cumulative distribution function (CDF). These statistics are minimized with respect to the three Weibull parameters. Due to nonlinearities encountered in the minimization process, Powell's numerical optimization procedure is applied to obtain the optimum value of the EDF. Numerical examples show the applicability of these new estimation methods. The results are compared to the estimates obtained with Cooper's nonlinear regression algorithm.