This work presents a design methodology of lightweight, thermally efficient injection molds with functionally graded lattice structure using multiphase thermomechanical topology optimization. The aim of this methodology is to increase or maintain thermal and mechanical performance as well as to lower the cost of thermomechanical components such as injection molds when these are fabricated using additive manufacturing technologies. The proposed design approach makes use of thermal and mechanical finite element analyses to evaluate the components stiffness and heat conduction in two length scales: mesoscale and macroscale. The mesoscale contains the structural features of the lattice unit cell. Mesoscale homogenized properties are implemented in the macroscale model, which contains the components boundary conditions including the external mechanical loads as well as the heat sources and heat sinks. The macroscale design problem addressed in this work is to find the optimal distribution of given number of lattice unit cell phases within the component so its mass is minimized, while satisfying stiffness and heat conduction constraints of the overall component and the specific regions. This problem is solved through two steps: conceptual design generation and multiphase material distribution. In the first step, the mass is minimized subject to constraints of mechanical compliance and thermal cost function. In the second step, a given number of lattice material are optimally distributed subjected to nonlinear thermal and mechanical constraints, e.g., maximum nodal temperature, maximum nodal displacement. The proposed design approach is demonstrated through 2D and 3D examples including the optimal design of the core of an injection mold. The results demonstrate that a small reduction in mechanical and thermal performance allows for significant mass savings: the second example shows that 3.5% heat conduction reduction and 8.7% stiffness reduction results in 30.3% mass reduction.

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