Dec 192018

With an increasing competition, there is a need for faster innovation and a reduced time-to-market cycles in the development of manufactured products. Such pressure increases the risk for failures to be embedded in the design. Currently, there is a lack of support to assess such risk in early stages of design and decision-making. Normally, risk analysis is carried out at later stages, where the possibility of design changes is very limited. Therefore there is a need for the integration of assessing the risk of failure at an early conceptual design phase [1, 2]. This early analysis will enable designers to explore more innovative solutions that are less likely to fail, leading to products that will be more robust and last longer. 

This analysis of potential failures at an early stage can be conducted in numerous ways – computer simulation and physical experiments – where different scenarios of use for a new product can be reproduced and tested [3]. However, both these techniques have their setbacks.  Computer simulation at early stages lacks precision, whereas physical experiments can be too expensive and time consuming to conduct. 

A more systematic integration of failure analysis in the design process has been proposed by different methods. Failure Mode & Effects Analysis (FMEA) is an important example of a methodology for more rigorous identification and management of multiple failure scenarios during the entire life span of a product [4, 5]. Within the general framework of FMEA, we are interested in the combination of computer simulation and experiments with physical prototypes to overcome the limitations of these approaches when tackled separately during early design.   

To test our hypothesis, we focus on the design of fasteners used for the attachment of photovoltaic (PV) modules in large scale solar energy installations. This case study allows us to model and analyse different sets of possible failure modes associated with lifecycle requirements of PV systems. In particular, this research will explore the interactions of different loading conditions including, structural loads, metal fatigue, heat transfer, and electrical conductance, as defined by relevant industry standards (e.g. UL 2703). For that purpose, the development of prototype testing device is envisioned as the main objective of this research, with the goal of testing different combinations of such loading conditions under the FMEA theoretical framework. 

This task is considered part of a larger interdisciplinary research project currently carried out between the schools of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at OU, under the direction of Professors Cavieres and Siddique, in association with industry partners. In this context, this research proposal is expected to contribute to the development of a more general framework to support the design decisions at early stages of product development. 

Based on the understanding from these experimental and simulation work, we expect to publish our methodology in Advanced Clean Energy Summit from September 15th to 19th, 2019 organized by Association of Mechanical Engineers.  


[1]W. J. Fabrycky and B. S. Blanchard, Life-cycle cost and economic analysis. Prentice Hall, 1991. 

[2]L. Wang, W. Shen, H. Xie, J. Neelamkavil, and A. Pardasani, “Collaborative conceptual design—state of the art and future trends,” Computer-Aided Design, vol. 34, no. 13, pp. 981-996, 2002. 

[3]D. Yang, Z. Yuan, P. Lee, and H. Yin, “Simulation and experimental validation of heat transfer in a novel hybrid solar panel,” International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, vol. 55, no. 4, pp. 1076-1082, 2012. 

[4]M. Rausand and K. Øien, “The basic concepts of failure analysis,” Reliability Engineering & System Safety, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 73-83, 1996. 

[5]T. Stålhane, “FMEA, HAZID, and ontologies,” in Ontology Modeling in Physical Asset Integrity Management: Springer, 2015, pp. 45-85. 



Pranav Mohan

Change and progress are two words that define my character and my ultimate goals. I have a vision to bring a global change by targeting the psychology, because that is the easiest to change. My aim is to incur a self-progressive routine for myself and then help the people around me to progress themselves. In my perspective, walking towards a defined target should be everyone’s goal while keeping in mind that things don’t go as planned but still the target should remain unchanged.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On InstagramVisit Us On LinkedinVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On Google PlusCheck Our Feed