This paper focuses on topology optimization of structures subject to a compressive load in a thermal environment. Such problems are important, for example, in aerospace, where structures are prone to thermally induced buckling.

Popular strategies for thermo-elastic topology optimization include Solid Isotropic Material with Penalization (SIMP) and Rational Approximation of Material Properties (RAMP). However, since both methods fundamentally rely on material parameterization, they are often challenged by: (1) pseudo buckling modes in low-density regions, and (2) ill-conditioned stiffness matrices.

To overcome these, we consider here an alternate level-set approach that relies discrete topological sensitivity. Buckling sensitivity analysis is carried out via direct and adjoint formulations. Augmented Lagrangian method is then used to solve a buckling constrained compliance minimization problem. Finally, 3D numerical experiments illustrate the efficiency of the proposed method.

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