Additive manufacturing is a developing technology that enhances design freedom at multiple length scales, from the macroscale, or bulk geometry, to the mesoscale, such as lattice structures, and even down to tailored microstructure. At the mesoscale, lattice structures are often used to replace solid sections of material and are typically patterned after generic topologies. The mechanical properties and performance of generic unit cell topologies are being explored by many researchers but there is a lack of development of custom lattice structures, optimized for their application, with considerations for design for additive manufacturing. This work proposes a ground structure topology optimization method for systematic unit cell optimization. Two case studies are presented to demonstrate the approach. Case Study 1 results in a range of unit cell designs that transition from maximum thermal conductivity to minimization of compliance. Case Study 2 shows the opportunity for constitutive matching of the bulk lattice properties to a target constitutive matrix. Future work will include validation of unit cell modeling, testing of optimized solutions, and further development of the approach through expansion to 3D and refinement of objective, penalty, and constraint functions.

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