The evolving CAE(Computer-Aided Engineering) & Manufacturing techniques have replaced the traditional design paradigm. The shift towards simulation and analysis has able us to achieve various design & manufacturing goals. Various CAE techniques such as Topology Optimization, Shape optimization, parametric optimization and design space exploration are nowadays used for Structural Optimization.

The design goals that can be achieved by Structural Optimization are:

  • Lightweight Design

  • Reductions in stress over a local region

  • Compliance with various boundary conditions.

  • Reduction in the failure of components

  • Reduction in material usage

The structural design optimization can be categorized into 3 categories broadly.

 1. SIZE:

In a typical sizing problem, the goal may be to find the optimal thickness distribution of a linearly elastic plate or the optimal member area in a truss structure.

 2. SHAPE:

Shape optimization is done to reduce the stresses over a local region while satisfying all the boundary conditions and loads. The optimality criteria method can be used to achieve shape optimization. The algorithm seeks to maintain stress homogeneity across a region and changing physical elements of the structure to reduce the stress concentration.


Topology Optimization techniques determine the optimal material distribution in a given design space which satisfies all the boundary conditions and load constraints. There are various mathematical models such as Solid Isotropic Material with Penalization (SIMP), Evolutionary structural optimization (ESO), Bi-directional evolutionary structural optimization (BESO), etc. The most commonly used method is SIMP, it seeks to maximize the stiffness of a given amount of material. The advantage of using stiffness is that it can be represented as scalar quantity and thus increasing the computational efficiency.


Fig: Initial model of a Rear Lower Control Arm 

Fig: FE Analysis of Rear Lower Control Arm

 Fig: Prior to Design Realization

 Fig: Final Design Realization

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