Masters Theses


“Performance is a major concern when developing new products. In high-risk aerospace applications at NASA, safety is of highest concerns, which leads to the performance of the product. Techniques of failure mode analysis used early in the design stages of a product are very important in eliminating/reducing performance and safety problems. The majority of techniques used requires prior knowledge and experience as well as Failure Modes and Effects as methods to determine potential failure modes that may occur in a life cycle of a product. These techniques do not capture all potential failure modes. The product design needs to pass through a general technique that can capture all potential failure modes without consuming too much time and money. Published NASA and NTSB accident reports identify a variety of components in rotorcraft that become sources of in failures in the reported cases. In this thesis, failure mode data is collected from the NASA and NTSB accident reports with respect to the corresponding components of a rotorcraft. This component-failure mode data is tabulated in matrix form and manipulated in two techniques of decomposition and similarity analysis to extract potential failure modes early in the design stages of a new product or rotorcraft. Functional decomposition is performed on the engine and power train of a rotorcraft to map function to failure. Function- Failure similarity information is analyzed for possible failure modes and solutions. Principal Component Analysis decomposition (PCA) is used to form high-variance linear combinations of failure modes. The PCA decomposition provides a low-dimensional representation of the failure mode data making it efficient in pattern analysis and in prediction of highly potential failure modes. The function-failure similarity method is applied to the data gathered from the accident reports. The PCA decomposition method is applied to a simple rotary test rig for a simple example, and then the method is applied to the data gathered from accident reports--Abstract, page iv.


Stone, Robert B.
McAdams, Daniel A.

Committee Member(s)

Finaish, Fathi
Tumer, Irem Y.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering


University of Missouri--Rolla

Publication Date

Spring 2002

Journal article titles appearing in thesis/dissertation

  • Deriving Function-Failure Similarity Information for Failure- Free Rotorcraft Component Design

  • Foundations of a Failure-Free Product Development Methodology based on PCA Decomposition


x, 50 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references.


© 2002 Rory Andrew Roberts, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Restricted Access

File Type




Subject Headings

Principal components analysis
Airplanes -- Design and construction

Thesis Number

T 8069

Print OCLC #


Link to Catalog Record

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