A Systems Approach to Structural Topology Optimization: Designing Optimal Connections

[+] Author and Article Information
T. Jiang

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

M. Chirehdast

Advanced Vehicle Technology, Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, MI

J. Mech. Des 119(1), 40-47 (Mar 01, 1997) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2828787 History: Received January 01, 1996; Revised June 01, 1996; Online January 18, 2008


In this paper, structural topology optimization is extended to systems design. Locations and patterns of connections in a structural system that consists of multiple components strongly affect its performance. Topology of connections is defined, and a new classification for structural optimization is introduced that includes the topology optimization problem for connections. A mathematical programming problem is formulated that addresses this design problem. A convex approximation method using analytical gradients is used to solve the optimization problem. This solution method is readily applicable to large-scale problems. The design problem presented and solved here has a wide range of applications in all areas of structural design. The examples provided here are for spot-weld and adhesive bond joints. Numerous other potential applications are suggested.

Copyright © 1997 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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