Topology optimization problems are typically non-convex, and as such, multiple local minima exist. Depending on the initial design, the type of optimization algorithm and the optimization parameters, gradient-based optimizers converge to one of those minima. Unfortunately, these minima can be highly suboptimal, particularly when the structural response is very non-linear or when multiple constraints are present. This issue is more pronounced in the topology optimization of geometric primitives, because the design representation is more compact and restricted than in free-form topology optimization. In this paper, we investigate the use of tunneling in topology optimization to move from a poor local minimum to a better one. The tunneling method used in this work is a gradient-based deterministic method that finds a better minimum than the previous one in a sequential manner. We demonstrate this approach via numerical examples and show that the coupling of the tunneling method with topology optimization leads to better designs.

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