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Graduate courses

Departments' graduate courses for PhD-students.


Syllabus for

Academic year
SJO750 - Reliability analysis of marine structures
Syllabus adopted 2014-02-19 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPNAV
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Not passed
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Mechanical Engineering, Shipping and Marine Technology

Teaching language: English
Open for exchange students

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0111 Examination, part A 5,0 c Grading: TH   5,0 c   05 Jun 2015 am L,  17 Apr 2015 am L,  24 Aug 2015 am L
0211 Design exercise 2,5 c Grading: UG   2,5 c    

In programs



Docent  Wengang Mao
Professor  Jonas Ringsberg


In order to be eligible for a second cycle course the applicant needs to fulfil the general and specific entry requirements of the programme that owns the course. (If the second cycle course is owned by a first cycle programme, second cycle entry requirements apply.)
Exemption from the eligibility requirement: Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling these requirements.

Course specific prerequisites

Mathematics (including mathematical statistics, numerical analysis and multi-variable calculus), mechanics and strength of materials and engineering materials


The course gives the student knowledge and tools how to design marine structures with regard to limit state based approaches by means of probability and risk analysis approaches. A variety of simplistic and advanced methodologies are compared with objective to demonstrate their advantages and limitations. Realistic and typical examples for marine structures are used throughout the course in order to introduce the student to real examples with their challenges of complexity which require solid and well-motivated assumptions.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

After finishing the course, students will have good knowledge and understanding of how reliability analysis of marine structures should be carried out. More specifically, the student should be able to:

- use and interpret classification rules in order to design marine structures according to given design criteria and safety measures,
- carry out reliability analysis for specific marine structural components,
- demonstrate which is the most appropriate methodology to use in a reliability analysis for certain practical engineering problems with respect to marine structural safety,
- understand and discuss the advantages and limitations using FORM, SORM and other simulation method for reliability analysis,
- and critically evaluate and compare various design concepts with respect to reliability and safety of marine structures.


It is well recognised that limit state based approaches for marine structures are more realistic methodologies with better basis for structural design and strength assessment than traditional working stress-based approaches, the latter typically being formulated as a fraction of material such as yield strength. This is the situation because it is not possible to determine the true margin of structural safety as long as limit states remain unknown. A limit state is defined as a condition under which a particular structural component or an entire structural system fails to perform its designated function. Four types of limit states are relevant: serviceability limit state (SLS), ultimate limit state (ULS), fatigue limit state (FLS) and accidental limit state (ALS).

The course focuses on the risk and reliability analysis of the FLS and ULS criteria for ships and offshore structures. These criteria include the failure of critical components of the structure caused by metal fatigue due to cyclic loading, exceeding the ultimate strength (in some cases reduced by repetitive actions) by any combination of buckling, yielding, rupture or fracture, or the transformation of the structure into a mechanism associated with buckling collapse or excessive deformation. The course is divided into four parts as follows:

-Basic reliability concepts in marine industry
-Risk-based approaches in maritime industry
-Statistical distributions.
-Methods for uncertainty analysis.
-Introduction to limit state approaches
-Definition of limit states: definitions and stochastic variables
-Application of limit states in the design of marine structures: design criteria according to classification rules.
-Reliability analysis methods
-First order reliability methods (FORM).
-Second order reliability methods (SORM).
-Simulation methods (Monte Carlo).
-Reliability and risk analysis in limit states design

Three mandatory computer assignments will be carried out where the student will practice gained knowledge during the course on realistic and typical examples for marine structures.


Teaching is in the form of lectures, tutorials-hand calculations, tutorials-computer calculations, and three mandatory computer assignments.


-The course literature is a compendium which can be bought at KOKBOKEN at Chalmers Campus Lindholmen.
-Tutorial examples, Tutorials-R computer exercises and Assignments will be handed out on the first lecture (free of charge).
-One old written exam with solutions will be handed out to the students.
-Ditlevsen, O. and Madsen, H.O. (2005). Structural Reliability Methods (online reference).


Three assignments and participation on the presentation seminar during study week 8 are mandatory. If these tasks are fulfilled, the student has passed the course and obtains grade 3 on the course. To obtain a higher grade, an additional written exam must be made. Note that all three assignments must have been approved before the exam!

Page manager Published: Thu 04 Feb 2021.