University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Engineering Department Bio- and Micromechanics Seminars > On the length scale, robustness and manufacturability in topology optimization

On the length scale, robustness and manufacturability in topology optimization

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Topology optimization has gained the status of being the preferred optimization tool in the mechanical, automotive, and aerospace industries. It has undergone tremendous development since its introduction in 1988, and nowadays it has spread to many other disciplines such as acoustics, optics, and material design. The basic idea is to distribute material in a predefined domain by minimizing a selected objective function and fulfilling a set of constraints. The procedure consists of repeated system analyses, gradient evaluation steps by adjoint sensitivity analysis, and design updates based on mathematical programming methods. The existence of a solution is ensured by regularization techniques which result in intermediate density material regions. Manufacturing of the final optimized design requires post-processing. However, any amendments can nullify the effect of the optimization. Therefore, this talk aims to present recent developments in obtaining black and white manufacturable designs with clearly defined length scale. The focus is on the mathematical modeling of the material density, its link to micro- and nano- scale production techniques, and on the introduction of uncertainties in the optimization. The model results in manufacturable black and white designs with a robust performance.

The result of the topology optimization procedure is a bitmap image of the design. The ability of the method to modify every pixel/voxel results in design freedom unavailable with any other alternative approach. However, this freedom requires the computational power of large parallel machines. Incorporating an uncertainty model in the optimization and the high contrast between the material phases further increase the computational cost. Hence, methods for reducing the computational complexity and handling the high material contrast will be presented and discussed as well. The development will be demonstrated in the design of compliant mechanisms, heat sinks, material microstructures for additive manufacturing, photonic devices, and fluid flow problems.

This talk is part of the Engineering Department Bio- and Micromechanics Seminars series.

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