The von Mises stress is often used as the metric for evaluating design margins, particularly for structures made of ductile materials. For deterministic loads, both static and dynamic, the calculation of von Mises stress is straightforward, as is the resulting calculation of reliability. For loads modeled as random processes, the task is different; the response to such loads is itself a random process and its properties must be determined in terms of those of both the loads and the system. This has been done in the past by Monte Carlo sampling of numerical realizations that reproduce the second order statistics of the problem. Here, we present a method that provides analytic expressions for the probability distributions of von Mises stress which can be evaluated efficiently and with good numerical precision. Further, this new approach has the important advantage of providing the asymptotic properties of the probability distribution. [S0739-3717(00)00801-1]

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