AN ENTROPIC THEORY OF DAMAGE WITH APPLICATIONS TO CORROSION-FATIGUE STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY ASSESSMENT
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This dissertation demonstrates an explanation of damage and reliability of critical components and structures within the second law of thermodynamics. The approach relies on the fundamentals of irreversible thermodynamics, specifically the concept of entropy generation due to materials degradation as an index of damage. All failure mechanisms that cause degradation, damage accumulation and ultimate failure share a common feature, namely energy dissipation. Energy dissipation, as a fundamental measure for irreversibility in a thermodynamic treatment of non-equilibrium processes, leads to and can be expressed in terms of entropy generation. The dissertation proposes a theory of damage by relating entropy generation to energy dissipation via generalized thermodynamic forces and thermodynamic fluxes that formally describes the resulting damage. Following the proposed theory of entropic damage, an approach to reliability and integrity characterization based on thermodynamic entropy is discussed. It is shown that the variability in the amount of the thermodynamic-based damage and uncertainties about the parameters of a distribution model describing the variability, leads to a more consistent and broader definition of the well know time-to-failure distribution in reliability engineering. As such it has been shown that the reliability function can be derived from the thermodynamic laws rather than estimated from the observed failure histories. Furthermore, using the superior advantages of the use of entropy generation and accumulation as a damage index in comparison to common observable markers of damage such as crack size, a method is proposed to explain the prognostics and health management (PHM) in terms of the entropic damage. The proposed entropic-based damage theory to reliability and integrity is then demonstrated through experimental validation. Using this theorem, the corrosion-fatigue entropy generation function is derived, evaluated and employed for structural integrity, reliability assessment and remaining useful life (RUL) prediction of Aluminum 7075-T651 specimens tested.