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# Reliability and survival (MATH30018)

## Mike Tso: email mike.tso@manchester.ac.uk

Webpage for notes: http://www.maths.manchester.ac.uk/~mkt/new_teaching.htm

1. Basic concepts
1.1 Books
Wolstenholme, L.C. "Reliability modelling. A statistical approach." Chapman & Hall, 1999.
Ebeling, C. "An introduction to reliability & maintainability engineering." McGraw Hill, 1997.
Leemis, L.M. "Reliability - Probailistic Models & Statistical Methods." Prentice 2nd Ed., 2003.

1.2 Applications
This course is concerned with the study of components and systems that fail in time.
e.g.
Engineering Mechanical and electrical equipment
Medicine Design and analysis of medical trials

## 1.3 The reliability function

Suppose that an item (component, device etc.) is new at time t = 0 and fails at time T (a continuous
random variable).
T > 0 - only takes positive values
the item is assumed to be in one of two states - working or failed.
The reliability function R (t) is dened as
R (t) = Pr (T > t)

(1.1)

i.e. R (t) is the probability that the item is still working at time t
Notice that
R (t) = 1 F (t)
d
R0 (t) =
R (t) =
dt

f (t)

(1.2)

## where F (t) = Pr (T t) = cumulative distribution function (c.d.f.) of T

and f (t) is the probability density function (p.d.f.) of T:
Some properties of R (t)
R (t) is a decreasing function of t: If t1 < t2 then R (t1 )
R (0) = Pr (T > 0) = 1

R (t2 ) :

R (1) = 0
0

R (t)

1

## We will also assume when necessary (for mathematical convenience) that

lim tR (t) = 0

t !1

1
i.e. R (t) ! 0 faster than :
t
N.B. In medical survival analysis, R (t) is also known as the survivor function S (t) :
Example
The failure time of a compressor (in hours) is a random variable with the probability density
function (p.d.f.)
(
:001
t>0
(:001t+1)2
f (t) =
0
otherwise
Find the reliability for a 100 hr. operating life.
Solution
Writing = 10

we have
R (t) =

( u + 1)2
1
1
( u + 1) t

du

=
=
=
Setting t = 100 gives R (100) =

1
( u + 1)
1
( t + 1)

t
1

1
= 0:909:
0:1 + 1

## 1.4 Mean time before failure (MTBF)

The mean time before failure is dened as
= E (T ) =

tf (t) dt

Result.

(1.3)

tR0 (t) dt
tf (t) dt =
0
Z 10
1
R (t) dt
= [ tR (t)]0 +
0
Z 1
=
R (t) dt

(1.4)

## noting that tR(t) = 0 at t = 0; 1:

The expectation (mean) of a distribution is not always nite. In such cases we can use the
The median life tm satises
R (tm ) = 0:5

(1.5)

## and is the age reached by 50% of the population.

Example
An electronic device has failure time density function (t measured in hours)
f (t) =

:002e
0

:002t

t>0
otherwise

## Find a) the MTBF, b) the median time to failure of the device.

Solution
Observation: the density f (t) = e

t;

## t > 0 is known as the exponential distribution.

MTBF:

R (t) =

f (u) du

du

t
1

= e

M T BF

= E (T ) =
R (t) dt
0
Z 1
=
e t dt
0

1
0

= 500 hrs.

Median life:
R (tm ) = 0:5 = e tm
1
tm =
ln 2 = 500 ln 2
= 346:6 hrs.
3

## 1.5 The hazard function

When an item has reached age t; its lifetime characteristics are usually dierent from new. The
failure time density is f (t) : However when T > t we need to condition on this event.
Dene the instantaneous failure rate of the item as
h (t) =
=

1
Pr (Item fails in (t; t + t) jsurvives to t)
t
1
lim
Pr (t < T < t + t j T > t)
t!0 t
lim

t!0

(1.6a)
(1.6b)

Pr (t < T < t + t)
Pr (T > t)
f (t) t
=
R (t)
= h (t) t

## Pr (t < T < t + t j T > t) =

Pr (A)
when A B:
Pr (B)
By taking limits we conclude that the hazard function dened as

h (t) =

f (t)
R (t)

## is the instantaneous failure rate (1.6).

NB.
h (t) is not a probability density function, though for xed t0 we can dene the failure time
density (lifetime density) conditional on survival to time t0
8
< f (t)
t > t0
f (tjT > t0 ) =
(1.7)
R (t0 )
:
0
elsewhere
1
= lim
Pr (t < T < t + t j T > t0 )
t!0 t
which does satisfy the normalization
Z

f (tjT > t0 ) dt =

t0

f (t) dt

t0

R (t0 )

=1

t = 1 year e.g.

## Pr (person reaching age 69 dies before 70th birthday)

which is known as the "force of mortality"

h (t) =
=

f (t)
R (t)
R0 (t)
=
R (t)

d
ln R (t)
dt

Z t
ln R (t) =
h (u) du
0
Z t
h (u) du
R (t) = exp

(1.8a)
(1.8b)

= exp f H (t)g

(1.8c)

## 1.7 Conditional reliability and monotone failure rates

Suppose that an item has survived to time a: Then U = T
Dene the conditional reliability function by

## RU (tja) = Pr (item survives a further time t j survives to a)

= Pr (U > tjT > a)

u>0

Pr (T > a + t)
=
Pr (T > a)
R (a + t)
=
R (a)

u>0

## Dierentiating RU (tja) with respect to t gives the conditional p.d.f. of U = T

(1.9)
a:

0
RU
(tja)
0
R (a + t)
R (a)
f (a + t)
R (a)

fU (tja) =
=
=

The
R 1 subscript U has been included to indicate that t is a future life, i.e. a value of U . Note
that 0 fU (tja) dt = 1 as required.
In the following we may drop U to simplify the notation.
An item has monotone failure rate if either h(t) " or h (t) # for all t. The item is either IFR or
DFR or both according to whether the failure rate h (t) is increasing, decreasing or constant.
Result 1
Conditional reliability improves as a function of a (for all t) if and only if the item is DFR.
Proof
5

i ) Suppose R (tja) =

R (a + t)
is increasing as a function of a.
R (a)
1
Pr (fails in (a; a + t) jsurvives to a)
t
1
= lim [1 R (tja)]
t!0 t

h (a) = lim

t!0

## Therefore R (tja) "with a =) h (a) is decreasing as a function of a

ii) Conversely, suppose h (a) is DFR, therefore decreasing as a function of a:
exp ( H (a + t))
exp ( H (a))
Z a+t
h (u) du
= exp

R (tja) =

(1.10)

## so R (tja) is increasing as a function of a:

The above result shows that in certain circumstances aging can be benecial to reliability.
Certain metals increase in strength as they are work-hardened.
New items can be prone to failure through manufacturing defects. c.f. "infant mortality"
Aging more commonly has an adverse eect on reliability, corresponding to a situation of
increasing hazard (IFR). The following result can be proved in the same way as above.
Result 2
Conditional reliability decreases as a function of a (for all t) if and only if the item is IFR.

## 1.8 The Bathtub curve

The bathtub curve represents the failure rate of a product during its lifecycle. The hazard function
comprises three parts:
1. Early failures or infant mortality - DFR period.
2. Useful life - constant (CFR) failure rate period. Failures are "rare" events modelled by a
Poisson process.
3. Old age - IFR period, failures due to wear-out.

## 1.9 Expected future life

If the hazard function h (t) is increasing, then we would expect the expected future life conditional
on reaching age a to decrease with a and conversely. It turns out to be true. We show this by
linking the conditional mean future life (i.e. life expectancy) to the conditional reliability function.
Result
Dene the (future) life expectancy at age a by
L (a) = E (U = T ajT > a)
Z 1
=
tfU (tja) dt
0
Z 1
0
=
tRU
(tja) dt

(1.11)

(1)

## Integrating by parts gives

L (a) = [

tRU (tja)]1
0

= 0+
=

1
R (a)
Z 1

1
R (a)

RU (tja) dt

R (a + t) dt

(1.12a)

R (t) dt

(1.12b)

assuming limt!1 tR (t) = 0: We see that future life expectancy is the area below the conditional
reliability function R (tja) :
Example
Show that the reliability function
R (t) =

t
b

0<t<b
elsewhere

Solution
(i)
h (t) =
=

d
(ln R (t))
dt
1
;0 < t < b
b t

## which is an increasing function of t:

(ii) At any age a the conditional life expectancy at age t0 is
M T T F (t0 ) = L (t0 )
Z b
R (t)
dt
=
R
(t0 )
t0
Z b
b
b t
=
dt
b t0 t0 b
1

1
(b
2

b t0
1
(b t0 )
2

t0

t)

which is a decreasing function of t0 . In fact the expected life is half the time interval from t0
to b:

## 1.10 Summary of reliability basics

1. Knowing any one of the following functions uniquely characterizes a lifetime distribution: