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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2014, Article ID 236304, 7 pages
Research Article

Probabilistic and Nonprobabilistic Sensitivity Analyses of Uncertain Parameters

1School of Civil Engineering, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou, Fujian 350108, China
2School of Civil Engineering, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, Anhui 230009, China

Received 10 January 2014; Accepted 17 March 2014; Published 14 April 2014

Academic Editor: Hua-Peng Chen

Copyright © 2014 Sheng-En Fang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Parameter sensitivity analyses have been widely applied to industrial problems for evaluating parameter significance, effects on responses, uncertainty influence, and so forth. In the interest of simple implementation and computational efficiency, this study has developed two sensitivity analysis methods corresponding to the situations with or without sufficient probability information. The probabilistic method is established with the aid of the stochastic response surface and the mathematical derivation proves that the coefficients of first-order items embody the parameter main effects on the response. Simultaneously, a nonprobabilistic interval analysis based method is brought forward for the circumstance when the parameter probability distributions are unknown. The two methods have been verified against a numerical beam example with their accuracy compared to that of a traditional variance-based method. The analysis results have demonstrated the reliability and accuracy of the developed methods. And their suitability for different situations has also been discussed.