Results-Driven Decisions, Faster: Accelerated Stress Testing as a Reliability Life Test

We want to ensure our designs perform reliably, as expected and intended. With today’s high-reliability products and quick release to market, we probably don’t have enough time to just test our parts at normal use rates. It would take too long, because our products ARE so reliable. Or, we’ll miss our window of opportunity to get our product to market

There are several ways to get reliability data to make design decisions. One of the ways is reliability life testing of our product.

This episode explores how accelerated stress testing is one subset of other reliability life testing methods, when it's a good idea, how we can approach doing it, and what we can do with the results.

Here's a reference to Reliasoft’s Accelerated Life Testing Reference to this podcast blogIt’s an eTextbook, but there’s also a downloadable .pdf. If accelerated life testing is a topic you’re interested in, then I recommend that you download this reference.

Reliasoft’s Accelerated Life Testing Reference.” Reliability Engineering eTextbook Library. Accessed Nov. 9 2021. 

There are earlier episodes of Quality During Design that expand upon some of the ideas we talked about today.  

Episode 6 “HALT! Watch out for that weakest link” explores the purposes of HALT (highly accelerated life testing) as a qualitative accelerated life test, where we try to design out the weakest component. This episode also links to an independent test house with videos and pictures of the equipment and fixturing that can be used in accelerated life tests.  

Episode 31 “5 Aspects of Good Reliability Goals and Requirements” explores how we can set reliability requirements that we can verify through reliability life testing methods. 

Episode 36 “When to use DOE (Design of Experiments)” explains how it can be used to explore the factors that affect our design, which is a method that can be used to help identify the stresses we want to test for accelerated stress testing. 

Episode 30 “Using Failure Rate Functions to Drive Early Design Decisions” reviews how we can use one of the outputs of a quantitative accelerated life test, the failure rate function. 

Episode 10 “How to Handle Competing Failure Modes” talks about how to analyze reliability life data with different failure modes. Although our accelerated stress test should focus on one failure mode, treating the parts that don’t end up failing as suspensions is the carry-over idea to this episode. 


“Accelerated Test Data Analysis.” Accelerated Life Testing Module for Weibull ++. Reliasoft. Accessed Nov. 9, 2021. 

Benbow, Donald W. and Hugh W. Broome. The Certified Reliability Engineer Handbook, 2nd ed., ASQ, 2013, pp.202-205. 

Ebeling, Charles E. An Introduction to Reliability and Maintainability Engineering. Waveland Press, Inc., 2005, pp. 323-331, 358. 

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