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Failure Analysis in Subsystem Design for Space Missions

[+] Author Affiliations
Scott J. Uder, Robert B. Stone

University of Missouri at Rolla, Rolla, MO

Irem Y. Tumer

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

Paper No. DETC2004-57338, pp. 201-217; 17 pages
  • ASME 2004 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 3a: 16th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, September 28–October 2, 2004
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4696-2 | eISBN: 0-7918-3742-4
  • Copyright © 2004 by ASME


In order for the Function-Failure Design method to be applicable to modern conceptual design, the method needs to be extended from the mechanical domain to include the electrical domain as very few modern systems are purely mechanical in nature. Towards this goal, we supplement previous efforts describing a standardized vocabulary for mechanical failures by presenting the current state of an electrical and a mechanical failure mode taxonomy. Failure is defined in terms of the cause of the failure mode, the failure mode, and the effect of the failure mode that renders a mechanical, electrical, or electromechanical device incapable of satisfactorily performing its intended function under normal usage conditions. We utilize an elemental physics of failure approach to define failure mode and then use this definition and a variety of resources to develop the electrical failure modes presented in the taxonomy. The list of proposed electrical failure modes is tested against a set of NASA problem reports before being revised to include additional failure modes encountered in space applications. The resulting taxonomy is summarized in the form of 38 electrical failure modes organized into 13 categories. The final version of the mechanical and electrical failure mode taxonomy will be combined with a functional modeling approach to predict potential failures during the conceptual stages of design.

Copyright © 2004 by ASME



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