This paper presents a novel approach for the design synthesis of continuous inhomogeneous structures. The objective of this research is to mimic biological principles of growth and evolution in order to explore a set of novel design configurations identified by high complexity both in topology and mechanical properties. The ability to synthesize novel structures is explored from an engineering point view, where the use of inhomogeneous properties can increase the ability of a structure to support external loads and minimize weight. Based on the observation that biological structures are inhomogeneous, in the sense that different cells have different properties, an artificial environment has been created which models the biological growth procedure with cells that serve as building blocks of the structure. Cell differentiation is expressed only in the sense of mechanical properties. Each cell contains an identical artificial DNA sequence which is executed during the growth procedure and stops once the structure meets desired engineering requirements, such as supporting loads. The DNA contains sets of rules which are encoded as a gene string. A relatively simple DNA sequence can give rise to complex inhomogeneous structures; small changes in the rules can lead to a significantly different structures with different properties. The representation of these rules is ideally suited for evolution, which will be applied in the future to evolve rule-sets that grow and develop high-performance inhomogeneous structures.

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