טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentShai Yair
SubjectReliability of Technologies
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Professor Dov Ingman
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

Technology has been an inseparable element of the human culture since the dawn of history. Having synergetic relations with science, economic growth and welfare, technology and its artifacts have expressed a measure of the human progress. The accelerating pace of technological advancements and revolutionary leaps are extensively investigated in the social sciences whereas the engineering characteristics of the technological representatives, i.e. of the products, lie in the physical domain. A literature review shows vague perceptions of the term Technology in different disciplines, all are non-measurable. This research thesis identifies the dynamics of technological evolution in several layers and aims at the construction of generalized holistic quantitative models for these dynamics. The holistic essence of the research approach is a prime philosophic course of the analysis. It is the idea that higher-level properties of a system cannot be satisfactorily determined, explained and described by the behavior of the lower-level component parts alone and that new properties emerge. In that sense, technologies are complex systems comprise of numerous products, human users and a complex net of production, sales and maintenance. Also, sub-technologies, i.e. species, of different products bear different environmental stress conditions, usage profiles and maintenance policies. This research thesis is wrapping up all these into generalizing models, implemented on the basis of reliability theory and mathematics. Firstly, high-level-performance functions describe the holistic performance, i.e. the time to end-of-service, of all species' members. These functions are derived from the balance equation of the entire population whereas the input data requires no information of individual products. The resulting functions are beneficial for, e.g., comparative analysis in several disciplines. The second part of the research investigates the dynamics, not only of the time to failure distributions, but also, and in particular, of the damage accumulation process, known as the aging phenomenon. A reliability distribution function is introduced into an equilibrium equation of generalized strength space. The strength deterioration is simulated based on a modified statistical model and reveals a multi-dynamic behavior of all three parameters of the well applied Weibull distribution. The last part of the thesis examines technological revolutions in historical scale. The time between revolutionary events are analogously compared to a series of average times between failures with non-ideal repair actions. The model is used for predicting future revolutionary technological events. Some new ideas and theorems are also discussed within the thesis regarding the birth of new technologies and their structure.