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AFGROW | DTD Handbook

Handbook for Damage Tolerant Design

  • DTDHandbook
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    • Sections
      • 1. Introduction
      • 2. Fundamentals of Damage Tolerance
      • 3. Damage Size Characterizations
        • 0. Damage Size Characterizations
        • 1. NDI Demonstration of Crack Detection Capability
          • 0. NDI Demonstration of Crack Detection Capability
          • 2. NDI Capability Evaluation for Cracks
            • 0. NDI Capability Evaluation for Cracks
            • 1. Basic Considerations in Quantifying NDI Capability
            • 2. Design of NDI Capability Demonstrations
            • 3. Sample Size Requirements
            • 4. POD Analysis
          • 3. NDI Capability Evaluation for Corrosion
        • 2. Equivalent Initial Quality
        • 3. Proof Test Determinations
        • 4. References
      • 4. Residual Strength
      • 5. Analysis Of Damage Growth
      • 6. Examples of Damage Tolerant Analyses
      • 7. Damage Tolerance Testing
      • 8. Force Management and Sustainment Engineering
      • 9. Structural Repairs
      • 10. Guidelines for Damage Tolerance Design and Fracture Control Planning
      • 11. Summary of Stress Intensity Factor Information
    • Examples

Section Sample Size Requirements

Sample sizes in NDI reliability experiments are driven more by the economics of specimen fabrication and crack characterization than by the desired degree of precision in the estimate of the POD(a) function.  Reasonable appearing POD(a) functions can often be obtained from applying the maximum likelihood analysis to an inspection of relatively few specimens.  Totally unacceptable results can also be obtained from inspecting specimens containing too few cracks or from inspection results that are not reasonably represented by the assumptions of the models.  Therefore, it must be recognized that the confidence bound calculation for a POD(a) analysis is based on asymptotic (large sample) properties of the estimates and that there are minimal sample size requirements that must be met to provide a degree of reasonable assurance in the characterization of the capability of the system.

Larger sample sizes in NDI reliability experiments will, in general, provide greater precision in the estimate of the POD(a) function.  However, the sample size is determined from the number of cracks in the experiment and there is an information content coupling with the crack sizes that must also be considered.  The effect of this coupling manifests itself differently for the â versus a and hit/miss analyses.

Sample sizes for the binomial analysis that is used to demonstrate a capability at a single crack size are dictated strictly by the selected value of the target POD and the degree of confidence.

Sample Size Requirements for â versus a Analysis

When the crack decision is made on the basis of a recorded response, â, to the inspection stimulus, the data are known as â versus a inspection results and a better POD(a) analysis is available.  An example of â versus a data from a capability demonstration is presented in Figure 3.1.4.  When the inspection response is greater than a pre-set detection threshold, a crack is indicated for the site.  In a capability demonstration, the minimum signal threshold is set as low as possible with respect to noise.  Detection thresholds are later set that will yield a desired a90 value with an acceptable rate of extra indications.  Extra indications are crack indications at sites with no known cracks.  Extra indications can be the result of noise or large responses from insignificant cracks.  However, they can also result from anomalies that do not impair structural integrity.
















Figure 3.1.4.  Example Plot of â versus a Data

The recorded signal response, â, provides significantly more information for analysis than a simple crack or no crack decision of a hit/miss inspection response.  The POD(a) model is derived from the correlation of the â versus a data and the assumptions concerning the POD(a) model can be tested using the signal response data.  Further, the pattern of â responses can indicate an acceptable range of extrapolation.  Therefore, the range of crack sizes in the experiment is not as critical in an â versus a analysis as in a hit/miss analysis.  For example, if the decision threshold in Figure 3.1.4 was set at 1000 counts, only the cracks with depths between about 6 and 10 mils would provide information that contributes to the estimate of the POD(a) function.  The larger and smaller cracks are always found or missed and would have provided little information about the POD(a) function in a hit/miss analysis.  In the â analysis, however, all of the recorded â values provided full information concerning the relation between signal response and crack size and the censored values at the signal minimum and maximum limits provided partial information.  The parameters of the POD(a) function are derived from the distribution of â values about the median response for cracks of size a.  Assumptions necessary for characterizing this distribution are readily evaluated with the â versus a data.

Because of the added information in the â data, a valid characterization of the POD(a) function with confidence bounds can be obtained with fewer cracks than are required for the hit/miss analysis.  It is recommended that at least 30 cracks be available for demonstrations whose results can be recorded in â versus a form.  Increasing the number of cracks increases the precision of estimates.  Perhaps, more importantly, increasing the number of cracks provides a broader population of the different types of cracks that the inspection will address.  Therefore, the demonstration specimen test set should contain as many cracked sites as economically feasible. The analysis will provide parameter estimates for smaller sample sizes but the adequacy of the asymptotic distributions of the estimates is not known.

Sample Size Requirements for Pass/Fail Analysis

In a hit/miss capability demonstration, the inspection results are expressed only in terms of whether or not the crack of known size was detected.  There are detection probabilities associated with each inspection outcome and the analysis assumes that the detection probability increases with crack size.  Since it is assumed that the inspection process is in a state of control, there is a range of crack sizes over which the POD(a) function is rising.  In this crack size range of inspection uncertainty, the inspection system has limited discriminating power in the sense that detecting or failing to detect would not be unusual.  Such a range might be defined by the interval (a0.10, a0.90), where ap denotes the crack size that has probability of detection equal to p; that is, POD(ap) = p.  Cracks smaller than a0.10 would then be expected to be missed and cracks greater than a0.90 would be expected to be detected.

In a hit/miss capability demonstration, cracks outside the range of uncertainty do not provide as much information concerning the POD(a) function as cracks within this range.  Cracks in the almost certain detection range and almost certain miss range provide very little information concerning probability of detection.  In the hit/miss demonstration, not all cracks convey the same amount of information and the "effective" sample size is not necessarily the total number of cracks in the experiment.  For example, adding a large number of very large cracks does not increase the precision in the estimate of the parameters of the POD(a) function.

Ideally, all of the cracks in a hit/miss demonstration would have 80 percent of their sizes in the (a0.10, a0.90) range of the POD(a) function.  However, it is not generally possible to have a set of specimens with such optimal sizes for all demonstrations.  The demonstrations are being conducted to determine this unknown range of sizes for the NDI system being evaluated.  Further, because of the high cost of producing specimens, the same sets of specimens are often used in many different demonstrations.  To minimize the chances of completely missing the crack size range of maximum information and to accommodate the multiple uses of specimens, the sizes of cracks in a specimen set should be uniformly distributed between the minimum and maximum of the sizes of potential interest.  A minimum of 60 cracks should be distributed in this range, MIL-HDBK-1823, but as many as are affordable should be used.  This minimum sample size recommendation was the result of subjective considerations as to the number needed to make the asymptotic assumptions reasonable, experience in applying the model to data, and the results of analysis from a number of simulated POD demonstrations [Berens & Hovey, 1981; Berens & Hovey, 1984; and Berens & Hovey, 1985].

Sample Size Requirements for Binomial Analysis

When capability is to be demonstrated by using specimens with cracks of the same size and the binomial analysis, the number of cracks in the specimens can be determined exactly from the POD level and the desired degree of confidence.  The best (maximum likelihood) estimate of the POD at the crack length of interest is the proportion of cracks in the specimen set that are detected.  A lower bound on the estimate is then calculated for the desired confidence level using binomial distribution theory.  For example, to demonstrate that there is 95 percent confidence that at least 90 percent of all cracks of the size under consideration will be detected requires at least 29 cracks of that size.  If all 29 cracks are detected, the maximum likelihood estimate of POD is 1.0 and the lower 95 percent confidence bound is slightly greater than 0.9.  If any crack is missed, the lower confidence bound on the estimate of POD is less than 0.9.  Sample sizes for the binomial analysis will be discussed further in the subsection on analysis methods.

It must be emphasized that the sample size is determined by the number of different cracks, not the number of inspections. Different cracks can respond differently to inspection stimuli.  Multiple inspections of the same crack are not independent and, therefore, cannot be treated as independent samples from the population of cracks of the given size.  There is a tendency to re-inspect specimens to increase the sample size.  For example, if one of 29 cracks is not detected, the inspection does not qualify for an a90/95 capability at that size.  The specimen set cannot be re-inspected with the expectation of passing the test for a sample size of 58.  New specimens with different cracks must be used or the analysis is not valid.

Uncracked Inspection Sites

In the context of the preceding discussion, sample size refers to the number of known cracks in the specimens to be inspected during the capability demonstration.  The complete specimen set should also contain inspection sites that do not contain any known cracks.  If the inspection results are of the hit/miss nature, at least twice as many uncracked sites as sites are recommended.  The uncracked sites are necessary to ensure that the NDI procedure is truly discriminating between cracked and uncracked sites and to provide an estimate of the false call rate.  If the NDI system is based on a totally automated â versus a decision process, many fewer uncracked sites will be required.  If any â values are recorded at the uncracked sites, their magnitude would provide an indication of the minimum thresholds that might be implemented in the application.