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Computational Tools for Optimal Structural Layout Design
Published September 26, 1994 by Automotive Technology Group, Inc. in United States
We present an overview of the design capabilities in Project MAXWELL, a rigorous methodology for the integrated design and fabrication of efficient mechanical components. A key component of this project is the homogenization method, a technique for performing optimal structural layout design. This method can perform topology optimization with only the specification of a designable area, appropriate loads and boundary conditions. Both the optimum global shape of the structure and optimal material properties for each discrete element in the design domain can be found using this method. This methodology has been applied to an extensive and growing body of examples, which range from the design of simple plane strain/plane stress structures to the design of automobile body panels, suspension components, and complete vehicle structural layouts. Several examples will be presented, illustrating the applications of these tools to component design, multibody layout design, multimaterial layout design, and design for natural frequency tailoring.