An element removal and reintroduction strategy for the topology optimization of structures and compliant mechanisms

T. E. Bruns, Daniel A Tortorelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A method is developed to systematically remove and reintroduce low density elements from and into the finite element mesh on which the structural topology optimization problem is defined. The material density field which defines the topology and the local 'stiffness' of the structure is optimally distributed via non-linear programming techniques. To prevent elements from having zero stiffness, an arbitrarily small lower bound on the material density is typically imposed to ensure that the global stiffness matrix does not become singular. While this approach works well for most minimum compliance problems, the presence of low density elements can cause computational problems, particularly in structures that exhibit geometric non-linearities, e.g. in compliant mechanisms. To resolve this problem, a systematic approach for removing and reintroducing low density elements is presented, and the substantial performance improvements both in design and computational efficiency of the method over current methods are discussed. Several structures and compliant mechanisms are designed to demonstrate the method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1413-1430
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Volume57
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 14 2003

Keywords

  • Compliant mechanisms
  • Low density element
  • Structural design
  • Topology optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Engineering(all)
  • Applied Mathematics

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