With rapid developments and advances in additive manufacturing technology, lattice structures have gained considerable attention. Lattice structures are capable of providing parts with a high strength to weight ratio. Most work done to reduce computational complexity is concerned with determining the optimal size of each strut within the lattice unit-cells but not with the size of the unit-cell itself. The objective of this paper is to develop a method to determine the optimal unit-cell size for homogenous periodic and conformal lattice structures based on the strain energy of a given structure. The method utilizes solid body finite element analysis (FEA) of a solid counter-part with a similar shape as the desired lattice structure. The displacement vector of the lattice structure is then matched to the solid body FEA displacement results to predict the structure’s strain energy. This process significantly reduces the computational costs of determining the optimal size of the unit cell since it eliminates FEA on the actual lattice structure. Furthermore, the method can provide the measurement of relative performances from different types of unit-cells. The developed examples clearly demonstrate how we can determine the optimal size of the unit-cell based on the strain energy. Moreover, the computational cost efficacy is also clearly demonstrated through comparison with the FEA and the proposed method.

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