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Towards the Design of Resilient Large-scale Engineering Systems

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Jonathan Mak, WH 
John Clarkson, P 


Resilience has mostly been thought of as the ability to recover from adversity. However, it is now increasingly recognised that resilience should not only serve as a means for organisations to survive hardship, but also to thrive and prosper. For large-scale engineering systems, such as telecommunications networks and power grids, this is vital due to relatively long life cycles leading to large uncertainties, and also due to the significant investments involved. Exactly how this and thus resilience should be designed into such systems, however, is less well defined. Here, the term resilience is explored through engineering, organisational and ecological literature to understand differing perspectives from select domains before distilling these into the three engineering design lifecycle properties: robustness, adaptability and flexibility. In particular, a distinction is highlighted between adaptability and flexibility following findings in literature. These properties and the concept of resilience are discussed with reference to system performance in order to serve as requirements for designing large-scale resilient engineering systems.



Resilience, engineering systems, engineering design

Journal Title

Procedia CIRP

Conference Name

27th CIRP Design 2017

Journal ISSN


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Elsevier BV
EPSRC (1477095)