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WEIBULL DISTRIBUTION

INTRODUCTION

Weibull distribution is one of the most widely used lifetime distributions in reliability engineering. It is a versatile distribution that can take on the characteristics of other types of distributions, based on the value of the shape parameter,

Named for its inventor, Waloddi Weibull, this distribution is widely used in reliability engineering and elsewhere due to its versatility and relative simplicity.

MATHEMATICAL FORMULA

Plotting the data and interpreting the plot Failure forecasting and prediction Evaluating corrective action plans Test substantiation for new designs with minimum cost Maintenance planning and cost effective replacement strategies Spare parts forecasting Warranty analysis and support cost predictions Controlling production processes

Frequently, the location parameter is not used, and the value for this parameter can be set to zero. When this is the case, the equation reduces to that of the two-parameter Weibull distribution. There is also a form of the Weibull distribution known as the one-parameter Weibull distribution. This in fact takes the same form as the two-parameter Weibull the only difference being that the value of is assumed to be known beforehand. This assumption means that only the scale parameter needs be estimated, allowing for analysis of small data sets

The Weibull shape parameter, , is also known as the Weibull slope. This is because the value of is equal to the slope of the line in a probability plot. Different values of the shape parameter can have marked effects on the behavior of the distribution. For example, when = 1, the three-parameter Weibull reduces to that of the two-parameter exponential distribution. The parameter is a pure number, i.e. it is dimensionless.

For 0 < 1:

As t 0 , f(t) . As t , f(t) 0.

For > 1: f(t) = 0 at t = 0 f(t) increases as t T(the mode) and decreases thereafter.

ANIMATION

The following plot shows how the slope of the Weibull probability plot changes with .

R(t) decreases sharply and monotonically for 0 < < 1 For = 1, R(t) decreases monotonically but less sharply than for 0 < < 1 For > 1, R(t) decreases as t increases. As wear-out sets in, the curve goes through an inflection point and decreases sharply.

This is one of the most important aspects of the effect of on the Weibull distribution. Weibull distributions with < 1 failure rate that decreases with time, also known as early-life failures. Weibull distributions with =1 have a fairly constant failure rate, indicative of useful life. Weibull distributions with > 1 failure rate that increases with time, also known as wear-out failures.

A mixed Weibull distribution with one subpopulation with < 1, one subpopulation with = 1 and one subpopulation with > 1 would have a failure rate plot that was identical to the bathtub curve. An example of a bathtub curve is shown in the following chart.

A change in the scale parameter, , has the same effect on the distribution as a change of the abscissa scale. Increasing the value of while holding constant has the effect of stretching out the pdf. If is increased, while and are kept the same, the distribution gets stretched out to the right and its height decreases, while maintaining its shape and location. If is decreased, while and are kept the same, the distribution gets pushed in towards the left and its height increases. has the same unit as T, such as hours, miles, cycles, actuations, etc.

Changing the value of has the effect of "sliding" the distribution and its associated function either to the right (if > 0) or to the left (if < 0)

When = 0, the distribution starts at t = 0 or at the origin. If > 0, the distribution starts at the location to the right of the origin. If < 0, the distribution starts at the location to the left of the origin. provides an estimate of the earliest time-to-failure of such units.

The primary advantage of Weibull analysis is the ability to provide reasonably accurate failure analysis and failure forecasts with extremely small samples. Solutions are possible at the earliest indications of a problem without having to "crash a few more." Small samples also allow cost effective component testing. Another advantage of Weibull analysis is that it provides a simple and useful graphical plot of the failure data. The data plot is extremely important to the engineer and to the manager.

EXAMPLE

The time to fail for a flexible membrane follows the Weibull distribution with = 2 and = 300 months. What is the reliability at 200 months?

SOLUTION

After 200 months, the reliability of the flexible membrane is

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