Risk, Fragility and Reliability Analyses in Structural Engineering
It has been for a long time that the structural systems’ load and strength were considered in a deterministic manner by engineers and design codes. In this case, a safety factor was defined based on the ratio between the strength and the applied load on structure, which usually referred as the measure of the reliability of the considered structure. However, in the recent years, the researchers found that because of the uncertainties available in the strength, loadings and modeling of the structural system, the traditional deterministic approach cannot be considered accurate anymore. Hence, the probabilistic techniques have developed and are being used to evaluate the life-cycle performance and reliability of structures.
The best way to evaluate the reliability index based on the probabilistic methods is by developing the fragility curves. These curves are functions which express the probability of occurring the undesirable events as a function of some measure of environmental excitation (typically a measure of force, deformation, or acceleration in an earthquake, hurricane, or other extreme loading condition). The second definition which is usually considered by the researchers represents fragility curves as the cumulative distribution function of the capacity of an asset to resist an undesirable limit state.
Reliability analysis and risk assessment research constitutes one of the important areas of existing and new Structures. Seismic reliability analysis of structures and infrastructures, help develop procedures to evaluate the seismic safety of them which includes limit states corresponding to serviceability and collapse. Based on these evaluations optimized retrofit procedures and restoration strategies can be suggested to engineers and consulting companies. Research projects concerned with reliability analysis and risk assessment should be carried out to provide practical tools for engineers to assess seismic risk to structures for the ultimate purpose of mitigating social impact.
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