Sensitivity analysis of a nonlinear structural design problem

Abstract This paper presents a user-oriented demonstration of practical applicability of a recently developed sensitivity analysis methodology. The required underlying theory for sensitivity analysis of nonlinear programming problems and an algorithm for implementing the subsequent results of this theory using the Sequential Unconstrained Minimization Technique are briefly reviewed. A recently developed computer program based on this approach is used to conduct a sensitivity analysis of a nonlinear programming problem associated with the optimization of the design of a vertically corrugated transverse bulkhead of an oil tanker. Major assumptions and results associated with the basic sensitivity analysis approach are verified for the subject problem. First order sensitivity information is used to estimate measures associated with various perturbations of the given problem data. Details of stability and convergence characteristics of the solution points and their partial derivatives with respect to the problem parameters are amply tabulated and graphically illustrated. It is felt that such studies are indispensable in assessing the status of a solution and hence will be of great interest to design engineers and managers as well as to mathematical programmers.