Stress-based topology optimization for fiber composites with improved stiffness and strength: Integrating anisotropic and isotropic materials

Rahul Dev Kundu, Xiaojia Shelly Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fiber-reinforced materials offer high stiffness- and strength-to-mass ratios to lightweight composite structures. To design stiff, strong, and lightweight fiber-reinforced composite structures, we propose a multimaterial anisotropic stress-constrained topology optimization framework that simultaneously optimizes geometry, distribution of anisotropic (i.e., orthotropic) and isotropic material phases, and local orientations of fiber reinforcements in the anisotropic phase. To achieve high performance in both stiffness and strength, we discover that both isotropic and anisotropic materials are needed: anisotropic materials are preferred in uniaxial members to increase stiffness, while isotropic materials are crucial at multi-axially stressed joints to enhance strength. We introduce multimaterial interpolation schemes to characterize both the stiffness and strength of composites made up of anisotropic and isotropic materials. The characterization of strength is enabled by a novel load factor-based yield function interpolation that consistently integrates anisotropic Tsai–Wu and isotropic von Mises yield criteria. We optimize stress-sensitive domains considering materials with various levels of stiffness and strength anisotropy as well as multiple load cases. The anisotropic stress constraints in the proposed framework effectively inform geometries to reduce stress concentration in fiber composites. The proposed framework provides a rational design paradigm for composite structures, capitalizing on dissimilar stiffness and strength properties of anisotropic and isotropic materials, to potentially benefit various engineering applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117041
JournalComposite Structures
StatePublished - Sep 15 2023


  • Anisotropic yield criteria
  • Fiber-reinforced composite optimization
  • Multimaterial topology optimization
  • Stress constraint
  • Tsai–Wu criteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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