Abstract

This work introduces a topology optimization method for the design of structures composed of rectangular plates each of which is made of a predetermined anisotropic material. This work builds upon the geometry projection method with two notable additions. First, a novel geometric parameterization of plates represented by offset surfaces is formulated that is simpler than the one used in previous works. Second, the formulation presented herein adds support to the geometry projection method for geometric components with general anisotropic material properties. A design-generation framework is formulated that produces optimal designs composed exclusively of rectangular plates that may be made of a predetermined, generally anisotropic material. The efficacy of the proposed method is demonstrated with a numerical example comparing optimal cantilever beam designs obtained using isotropic- and orthotropic-material plates. For this example, we maximize the stiffness of the structure for a fixed amount of material. The example reveals the importance of considering material anisotropy in the design of plate structures. Moreover, it is demonstrated that an optimally stiff design for plates made of an isotropic material can exhibit detrimental performance if the plates are naively replaced with an anisotropic material. Although the example given in this work is in the context of orthotropic plates, since the formulation presented in this work supports arbitrary anisotropic materials, it may be readily extended to support the design of each component’s material anisotropy as a part of the optimization routine.

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