Topology Optimization: Opportunities and Challenges

This presentation was made at CAASE18, The Conference on Advancing Analysis & Simulation in Engineering. CAASE18 brought together the leading visionaries, developers, and practitioners of CAE-related technologies in an open forum, to share experiences, discuss relevant trends, discover common themes, and explore future issues.

Resource Abstract

For engineering companies to be competitive, they have to create lighter and better-performing products. Given a structural problem, engineers need to figure out where and how to remove material. Often, one of the tools engineers use is finite element analysis (FEA). Unfortunately, FEA can only provide hints on where one should remove material. The actual process of carefully removing material can be arduous
and error-prone. Figure 2 illustrates a few designs that an engineer might generate. There is no guarantee that the final design generated through this trial-and-error process is even close to optimal. Topology optimization is a powerful automated process for performance-constrained weight reduction. It relies heavily on FEA, but it automates the process of material removal, resulting in a highly optimized design. Topology optimization provides rapid solutions to design problems, shaving weeks off product development cycles.

There are several topology optimization methods and software implementations. Underneath, all of them rely on FEA and optimization techniques. They however differ on the specific FEA method, the optimization technique, the number of iterations required, ease-of-use, constraint handling, multi-load and multi-physics capabilities, etc.

There is a lot of excitement today in 3D printing (additive manufacturing). Through 3D-printing one can fabricate parts of virtually any shape. It offers several advantages over traditional manufacturing, and has the potential to revolutionize the way things are made. Topology optimization directly caters to 3D printing in that the output from topology optimization is typically an STL file, that can be directly 3D printed. Further, for most 3D printing processes (especially, metal 3D printing), material reduction is critical, and through topology optimization, one can dramatically reduce the amount of material used in a design.

In the workshop, the opportunities presented by topology optimization will be explored through hands on approach tackling some of the challenging design problems. No technology is perfect, therefore a strength and weakness analysis is necessary when it comes to utilizing topology optimization to its best effect.

Document Details

AuthorYadav. P
Date 5th June 2018
OrganisationSciArt, LLC


Back to Search Results