A Topology Optimization Method to Extract Optimal Beam-Like, Plate-Like, or Shell-Like Structures from a Solid Finite Element Mesh

Juan Pablo Leiva
EngOpt 2012 – 3rd International Conference on Engineering Optimization. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Publication Date: 
01 - 05 July, 2012

A new topology optimization method to extract optimal beam-like, plate-like, or shell-like structures from a solid finite element mesh
is presented. The development of this method was motivated because traditional optimization methods tend to produce truss-like
structures that are not necessarily optimal from the manufacturing point of view. Buildings, for example, are typically designed with
beams and plates and not with trusses. Car bodies are designed using shell meshes because stampings are needed for enclosing the
structure and for aesthetic reasons. Dams are designed using walls (plate-like) to reinforce the main shell. The presented method
parameterizes the design domain assembled with finite elements. The method is suitable for general irregular meshes that are
typically created by mesh generators. The method is very efficient as it uses a small number of design variables and it does not add
additional constraints to impose the manufacturing requirements. The manufacturing requirements are built in to the parameterization
of the design variables. The proposed method is implemented in the Genesis program and some examples that show its effectiveness
are included.

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