Topology optimization is a systematic method of generating designs that maximize specific objectives. While it offers significant benefits over traditional shape optimization, topology optimization can be computationally demanding and laborious. Even a simple 3D compliance optimization can take several hours. Further, the optimized topology must typically be manually interpreted and translated into a CAD-friendly and manufacturing friendly design.

This poses a predicament: given an initial design, should one optimize its topology? In this paper, we propose a simple metric for predicting the benefits of topology optimization. The metric is derived by exploiting the concept of topological sensitivity, and is computed via a finite element swapping method. The efficacy of the metric is illustrated through numerical examples.

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