Abstract

Structural optimization techniques presently consider the design of only single structural components. However, most real life engineering design problems involve multiple components or structures. It is therefore necessary to have a methodology that can address the design of multi-component systems and generate designs for the optimal layouts of individual structures and locations for interconnections. The interconnections include supports provided by the ground, joints and rigid connections like rivets, bolts, weld between components. While topology optimization of structures has been extensively researched, relatively little work has been done on optimizing the locations of the interconnections. In this research, a method to model and define design domains for the interconnections has been developed. The optimization process redistributes material in the component design domains and locates the connections optimally using an energy criterion. Some practical design examples are used to illustrate the capability of this method.

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