The current emissions regulations lead car manufacturers to look carefully for weight reduction. In the automotive industry the classic trial-and-error approach to design is becoming inadequate and techniques based on optimization are necessary to improve the design process. In this study a methodology to design a sport-car front hood is proposed. The process carried out could also be extended to car components characterised by a similar configuration.

Starting from the geometry of the actual part, a design volume has been defined. The first step consists of a topology optimization performed considering the material as isotropic (aluminium properties): the output is a rough structure which accomplishes all the imposed targets. The interpretation of the topology results brings to a re-design phase aimed at realising a feasible component.

The subsequent optimization step is dedicated to composite material structures and acts on the component plybook, varying thickness and orientation of each ply to find the best solution complying with targets. Finally, the component has to be reviewed from a technological point of view in order to be virtually delivered and to proceed with the prototype phase.

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