The proliferation of a technology depends on number of elements with one of the key factors being reliability.  Aircraft carriers such as the one pictured above incorporates state-of-the art technologies and involves a multitude of practices. Successful long-term operation of such systems demands a high degree of reliability in all areas under the most severe and demanding operating conditions. 

Reliability can take on different definitions under different circumstances; IEEE Std. 100, “The Authoritative Dictionary of IEEE Standards Terms,” Seventh Ed., defines:


The probability that a device will function without failure over a specified time period or amount of usage.”

Predicted Reliability

For the stated conditions of use, and taking into account the design of an item, the reliability computed from the observed, assessed, or extrapolated reliabilities of its parts.”

The reliability of an equipment in the period of random failures may be computed by the equation:

R = e-lt


             l is failure rate

t is time period of interest


Merriam-Webster defines reliability as “the quality or state of being reliable.”  In investigation and research, reliability is a method of assessing the quality of a measurement procedure to produce consistent and dependable results.

reliability chart

Exponent engineers and professionals have extensive experience in the investigation of products and the analysis of data to determine the reliability of a product for its intended use during its proposed life.  The product may use a variety of technologies, and may require a thorough understanding of a variety of sub-practices including:

  • Hardware design
  • Analog and Digital Circuits
  • Software and Computer Engineering

Exponent has conducted product reliability investigations including power electronics, circuits and systems, electrical and thermal analysis, testing and dynamic modeling and simulation.  Investigated products include:

  • Appliances such as coffee pots, televisions, toaster ovens, smoke detectors, electric drills, room heaters, outlet strips, extension cords and others
  • Utility products such as smart meters, distribution transformers and conductors, circuit breakers and other over-current protection systems
  • Automotive electronics and engine control systems, air bag deployment systems
  • Electric and hybrid vehicles and systems
  • Transit vehicles and high power propulsion systems 
  • Aircraft investigations
  • Computers and IT systems
  • Illumination products such as incandescent and fluorescent lamps and lamp dimmers
  • Batteries – Lithium-Ion, NiCd, NiMH, lead-acid
  • Complex systems involving a combination of hardware and software

Our professionals’ areas of expertise include:

  • Consumer Electronics
  • Industrial Electronics
  • Utility Power Systems
  • Transportation Systems