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Key management has become a challenging issue in the design and deployment of secure wireless sensor networks. A common assumption in most existing distributed key management schemes is that all sensor nodes have the same capability. However, recent research works have suggested that connectivity and lifetime of a sensor network can be substantially improved if some nodes are given greater power and transmission capability. Therefore, how to exploit those heterogeneity features in design of a good distributed key management scheme has become an important issue. This paper proposes a unified framework for distributed key management schemes in heterogeneous wireless sensor networks. Analytical models are developed to evaluate its performance in terms of connectivity, reliability, and resilience. Extensive simulation results show that, even with a small number of heterogeneous nodes, the performance of a wireless sensor network can be improved substantially. It is also shown that our analytical models can be used to accurately predict the performance of wireless sensor networks under varying conditions.