Concurrent topology optimization of structures and materials

Kai Liu, Purdue University


Topology optimization allows designers to obtain lightweight structures considering the binary distribution of a solid material. The introduction of cellular material models in topology optimization allows designers to achieve significant weight reductions in structural applications. However, the traditional topology optimization method is challenged by the use of cellular materials. Furthermore, increased material savings and performance can be achieved if the material and the structure topologies are concurrently designed. Hence, multi-scale topology optimization methodologies are introduced to fulfill this goal. The objective of this investigation is to discuss and compare the design methodologies to obtaining optimal macro-scale structures and the corresponding optimal meso-scale material designs in continuum design domains. These approaches make use of homogenization theory to establish communication bridges between both material and structural scales. The periodicity constraint makes such cellular materials manufacturable while relaxing the periodicity constraint to achieve major improvements of structural performance. Penalization methods are used to obtain binary solutions in both scales. The proposed methodologies are demonstrated in the design of stiff structure and compliant mechanism synthesis. The multiscale results are compared with the traditional structural-level designs in the context of Pareto solutions, demonstrating benefits of ultra-lightweight configurations. Errors involved in the multi-scale topology optimization procedure are also discussed. Errors are mainly classified as mesh refinement errors and homogenization errors. Comparisons between the multi-level designs and uni-level designs of solid structures, structures using periodic cellular materials and non-periodic cellular materials are provided. Error quantifications also indicate the superiority of using non-periodic cellular materials rather than periodic cellular materials.




Tovar, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Mechanical engineering

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