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Hermite polynomial normal transformation for structural reliability analysis
Engineering Computations, Volume: 38, Issue: 8, Pages: 3193 - 3218
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PurposeNormal transformation is often required in structural reliability analysis to convert the non-normal random variables into independent standard normal variables. The existing normal transformation techniques, for example, Rosenblatt transformation and Nataf transformation, usually require the...
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PurposeNormal transformation is often required in structural reliability analysis to convert the non-normal random variables into independent standard normal variables. The existing normal transformation techniques, for example, Rosenblatt transformation and Nataf transformation, usually require the joint probability density function (PDF) and/or marginal PDFs of non-normal random variables. In practical problems, however, the joint PDF and marginal PDFs are often unknown due to the lack of data while the statistical information is much easier to be expressed in terms of statistical moments and correlation coefficients. This study aims to address this issue, by presenting an alternative normal transformation method that does not require PDFs of the input random variables.Design/methodology/approachThe new approach, namely, the Hermite polynomial normal transformation, expresses the normal transformation function in terms of Hermite polynomials and it works with both uncorrelated and correlated random variables. Its application in structural reliability analysis using different methods is thoroughly investigated via a number of carefully designed comparison studies.FindingsComprehensive comparisons are conducted to examine the performance of the proposed Hermite polynomial normal transformation scheme. The results show that the presented approach has comparable accuracy to previous methods and can be obtained in closed-form. Moreover, the new scheme only requires the first four statistical moments and/or the correlation coefficients between random variables, which greatly widen the applicability of normal transformations in practical problems.Originality/valueThis study interprets the classical polynomial normal transformation method in terms of Hermite polynomials, namely, Hermite polynomial normal transformation, to convert uncorrelated/correlated random variables into standard normal random variables. The new scheme only requires the first four statistical moments to operate, making it particularly suitable for problems that are constraint by limited data. Besides, the extension to correlated cases can easily be achieved with the introducing of the Hermite polynomials. Compared to existing methods, the new scheme is cheap to compute and delivers comparable accuracy.
Structural reliability analysis, Polynomial normal transformation, Hermite polynomials, Statistical moments
College of Engineering