Notice: For the latest information and guidance on Purdue's response to COVID-19 please visit:

Reliability Based Design


Credit Hours:


Learning Objective:

Enables students to understand the importance of reliability and quality in the design and manufacture of engineered products, components and systems. The methods of reliability analysis and reliability-based design of mechanical and electronic systems are presented with illustrative examples.


The course is aimed at providing an engineering view (as opposed to a purely statistical view or a management view) of reliability analysis as well as reliable product design. The goal is to make the student familiar with both the statistical tools as well as the failure physics that enable one to model time to failure of products and to use such models during design phase to ensure reliable product designs. The major topics that will be covered include: probability and random variables; normal, exponential and Weibull distributions and their manipulation; reliability estimation and plotting; uncertainty quantification, load-strength analysis, Monte Carlo simulation, and first order reliability methods; reliability of mechanical and electronic systems; accelerated testing and acceleration factors; selected failure mechanisms and time to failure modeling of mechanical and electronic systems.

Topics Covered:

Introduction; probability rules; probability examples; conditional probability; algebra of expectations and variance; normal, lognormal, exponential and Weibull distributions; load strength interference; failure rate modeling; binomial and Poisson distributions; reliability block diagrams; Monte Carlo simulation; uncertainty in load and in geometry; first-order reliability methods; time to failure modeling for selected failure mechanisms in mechanical and electrical systems.
Spring 2018 Syllabus


Undergraduate mechanical design course or consent of instructor. You should understand (or be willing to learn) the concepts of shear force, bending moment, stress, and principal stress.

Applied / Theory:

50 / 50

Web Address:

Web Content:

A link to current course website, syllabus, grades, lecture notes, homework assignments, solutions chat room, and message board.


(30-40%) Weekly homework assignments, small number of assigned homework will count for grade. All homeworks assigned through course website solutions provided at course website. One or two projects of 2-3 homeworks in effort will count for the bulk of the 30-40% grade.


One or two projects will be assigned to the class to completed as individual work. The nature and topics of the projects vary from year to year, but are generally intended to provide more in-depth practical experience with topics learned in the class.


Three tests total, including the final will count for 60-70% of the grade. Exams will test ability to synthesize material learned in class & homework.


Official textbook information is now listed in the Schedule of Classes.NOTE: Textbook information is subject to be changed at any time at the discretion of the faculty member. If you have questions or concerns please contact the academic department.Text (suggested): J.W. McPherson, Reliability Physics and Engineering: Time to Failure Modeling, 2nd Edition, Springer, 2013. Reference (not required): P.D.T. O???Connor and A. Kleyner, Practical Reliability Engineering, fifth edition, Wiley, 2012. Note: Electronic versions of McPherson text and O???Connor reference available from Purdue Library website for free (

Computer Requirements:

ProEd minimum computer requirements; Require access to MATLAB and Excel. Require MATLAB Statistics Tool Box, which does not come standard with the student version of MATLAB. Off-campus access to full version of MATLAB is available through a web interface via Purdue ITaP's Software Remote service site ( As with the course webpage, Purdue login is needed to access the the remote software. A high speed internet connection is critical to use Purdue University computing servers to complete projects.

ProEd Minimum Requirements: