Currently available tools for classical topology optimization of structures have proven valuable in conceptual design. These tools may provide design direction very early in the design cycle. However, the results subsequently need to be interpreted and translated by an engineer into a consistent CAD-model. This research focuses on the topological design synthesis of shell structures, which is being carried out using a design language approach. The aim of this approach is to automatically generate, modify and optimize an abstract representation of the design. This representation is automatically translatable into a CAD-model and will thus lead to an optimization process that offers a valid structural CAD-model as result. Design languages serve in this context as a computable abstraction of design representation and synthesis by use of rule-based information processing mechanisms. These rules (also called design patterns), are applied to generate and modify the topology of the design representation. Design patterns contain the engineers know-how and best-practice. The computerized execution of design patterns in a design compiler yields a powerful topology modification tool. As prototype application, the synthesis of shell structures is presented in this work. The automation mechanisms and the information flow through design synthesis, model generation, design analysis and evaluation are outlined. A discussion on the future application of design patterns for knowledge-based structural optimization is derived from the shown examples.

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