On the Use of Stochastic Processes in Modeling Reliability Problems

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Stochastic processes are powerful tools for the investigation of reliability and availability of repairable equipment and systems. Because of the involved models, and in order to be mathematically tractable, these processes are generally confined to the class of regenerative stochastic processes with a finite state space, to which belong: renewal processes, Markov processes, semi-Markov processes, and more general regenerative processes with only one (or a few) regeneration staters). The object of this monograph is to review these processes and to use them in solving some reliability problems encountered in practical applications. Emphasis is given to a comprehensive exposition of the analytical procedures, to the limitations in- volved, and to the unification and extension of. the models known in the literature. The models investigated here assume. that systems have only one repair crew and that no further failure can occur at system down. Repair and failure rates are general- ized step-by-step, up to the case in which the involved process is regenerative with only one (or a few) regeneration state(s). Investigations deal with different kinds of reliabilities and availabilities for series/parallel structures. Preventive main- tenance and imperfect switching are considered in some examples.