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What is Fault Tree Analysis?

Fault Tree Analysis(FTA) is one of the several deductive logic model techniques, and one of the most common hazard identification tool.

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The deduction begins with a stated top level hazardous/undesired event. It uses logic diagrams and Boolean Algebra to identify single events and combinations of events that could cause the top event.

Probability of occurrence values are assigned to the lowest events in the tree in order to obtain the probability of occurrence of the top event.

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Fault tree main symbols.
Commonly Used Symbols Occasionally Used Symbols

OR gate

Incomplete event

AND gate

An External Event

An Event / Fault

Inhibit gate

Basic Event

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process signal to transmitter fails. Either one of the root valve is closed. E. For the top event to occur all the bottom events should occur.FTA Symbols Explained Basic Event: A lower most event that can not be further developed.g. E. They are a result logical combination of lower level events. Run away reaction Either one of the bottom event results in occurrence of the top event. Relay failure.g. Both transmitters fail. Switch failure etc..g. E. This can be a intermediate event (or) a top event. E. An Event / Fault: OR Gate: AND Gate: Palaniappan Kannan CFSE 3 .g. Fuel. Oxygen and Ignition source has to be present for fire.

Fire. False trip of unit on “maintenance override” not ON.g. Software malfunction.g. Human Error etc. Inhibit Gate: Palaniappan Kannan CFSE 4 . E. The top event occurs only if the bottom event occurs and the inhibit condition is true.FTA Symbols Explained Incomplete Event: An event which has scope for further development but not done usually because of insufficient data.g.. E. External Event: An event external to the system which can cause failure. E.

002 Palaniappan Kannan CFSE 5 .Simple Examples Example 1: 0.000002(2E-06) Valve Failed AND 0.1 Transmitter 1 Failed Transmitter 2 Failed 0.2 Example 2: 0.001 Valve 1 Failed Valve 2 Failed 0.28 Transmitter Failed OR 0.

Explore each branch in successive level of detail.Procedure Procedure for Fault Tree Analysis Define TOP event Define overall structure. Perform corrections if required and make decisions Solve the fault tree Palaniappan Kannan CFSE 6 .

Sub-system.Procedure Define Top Event: • • Use PHA. Motor fails to start. P&ID. Process description etc.. If its too broad. The boundaries for top event definition can be a System.g.. the exercise will be costly. Unit. • • If its too narrow. Leak in the valve. to define the top event. E.g. Equipment (or) a Function. E. Fire in process. Palaniappan Kannan CFSE 7 . overly large FTA will result. • Some good examples are: Overpressure in vessel V1. Reactor high temperature safety function fails etc.

Procedure Procedure for Fault Tree Analysis Define TOP event Define overall structure. Perform corrections if required and make decisions Solve the fault tree Palaniappan Kannan CFSE 8 . Explore each branch in successive level of detail.

Procedure Define overall structure: • Determine the intermediate events & combination of failure that will lead to the top event. Palaniappan Kannan CFSE 9 . • Arrange them accordingly using logical relationship.

Perform corrections if required and make decisions Solve the fault tree Palaniappan Kannan CFSE 10 . Explore each branch in successive level of detail.Procedure Procedure for Fault Tree Analysis: Define TOP event Define overall structure.

Consider Common cause failure & Systematic failures in the process of decomposition. Palaniappan Kannan CFSE 11 .Procedure Explore each branch in successive level of detail: • Continue the top down process until the root cause for each branch is identified and/or until further decomposition is considered unnecessary. • • So each branch will end with a basic event or an undeveloped event. • A good guide to stop decomposing is to go no further than physical (or) functional bounds set by the top event.

Perform corrections if required and make decisions Solve the fault tree Palaniappan Kannan CFSE 12 . Explore each branch in successive level of detail.Procedure Procedure for Fault Tree Analysis: Define TOP event Define overall structure.

Procedure Solve the Fault Tree: • Assign probabilities of failure to the lowest level event in each branch of the tree. Palaniappan Kannan CFSE 13 . • From this data the intermediate event frequency and the top level event frequency can be determined using Boolean Algebra and Minimal Cut Set methods.

IE1 = A.B+C.D 3. TOP = A. Continue this replacement until all intermediate event gates have been replaced and only the basic events remain in the IE1 IE2 equation. Replace OR gates with the sum of their inputs.D A B C D Palaniappan Kannan CFSE 14 . TOP = IE1+IE2 = A.D TOP 2.B IE2 = C.B+C. Replace AND gates with the product of their inputs.Procedure Steps to get the final Boolean equation: 1.

Each minimal cut set is an AND gate with a set of basic event inputs necessary and sufficient to cause the top event. Some basic events may appear in different places of the fault tree.Procedure Minimal Cut Set theory: • The fault tree consists of many levels of basic and intermediate events linked together by AND and OR gates. whose inputs (bottom)are minimal cut sets. The minimal cut set analysis provides a new fault tree. with an OR gate beneath the top event. • • Palaniappan Kannan CFSE 15 . logically equivalent to the original.

B + A + (C.C.C.B) IE1 = A + A.B + B.B) + (A + IE3) = A.IE4) = A.D.C.C.D meaning TOP event occurs if either A occurs OR (B.B + A + (C.D (A + A.Procedure Boolean Algebra Reduction Example: TOP = IE1 + IE2 = (A.D.D.D.D) occurs. 16 C D IE4 D B Palaniappan Kannan CFSE .D (D.C.B + B.D = D) = A + A.D TOP IE2 A IE3 So the minimal cut sets are: CS1 = A CS2 = B.B = A) A B = A + B.

Explore each branch in successive level of detail. Perform corrections if required and make decisions Solve the fault tree Palaniappan Kannan CFSE 17 .Procedure Procedure for fault tree analysis: Define TOP event Define overall structure.

Procedure Perform corrections and make decisions: • Application of Boolean Algebra and Minimal Cut Set theory will result in identifying the basic events(A) and combination of basic events(B. Palaniappan Kannan CFSE 18 .C. • This will give clear insight on what needs to be attended and where resources has to be put for problem solving.D) that have major influence on the TOP event.

Searches for possible causes of an end effect which may not have been foreseen. redundant or alternative fault paths. Palaniappan Kannan CFSE 19 . Very useful tool for focused analysis where analysis is required for one or two major outcomes. • • The cut sets derived in FTA can give enormous insight into various ways top event occurs.Advantages of FTA Plus points of FTA: • • Deals well with parallel.

producing different cut set elements and results. leading to some initial confusion.Disadvantages of FTA Minus points of FTA: • Requires a separate fault tree for each top event and makes it difficult to analyze complex systems. The same event may appear in different parts of the tree. • • Palaniappan Kannan CFSE 20 . Fault trees developed by different individuals are usually different in structure.

END Palaniappan Kannan CFSE 21 .