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This paper proposes a method by which material inhomogeneity may be taken into account in a reliability calculation. The method employs Monte-Carlo simulation; and introduces a material strength index, and a standard deviation of material strength to model the variation in the strength of a component throughout its volume. The method is compared to conventional load-strength interference theory. The results are identical for the case of homogeneous material, but reliability is shown to reduce for the same load as the component volume increases. The case of a tensile bar is used to explore the variation of reliability with component volume.