Current design procedures for complicated three-dimensional structural components with component interactions may not necessarily result in optimum designs. The wrist pin end design of the connecting rod with an interference fit is governed by the stress singularity in the region where the wrist pin breaks contact with the connecting rod. Similar problems occur in a wide variety of structural components which involve interference fits. For a better understanding of the problems associated with obtaining optimum designs for this important class of structural interaction only the design problems associated with the wrist pin end of the rod are addressed in this study. This paper demonstrates a procedure for designing a functional and minimum weight wrist pin end of an automobile engine connecting rod with an interference fit wrist pin. Current procedures for Finite Element Method (FEM) model generation in complicated three-dimensional components are very time consuming especially in the presence of stress singularities. Furthermore the iterative nature of the design process makes the process of developing an optimum design very expensive. This design procedure uses a generic modeler to generate the FEM model based on the values of the design variables. It uses the NASTRAN finite element program for structural analysis. A stress concentration factor approach is used to obtain realistic stresses in the region of the stress singularity. For optimization, the approximate optimization strategy in the COPES/CONMIN program is used to generate an approximate design surface, determine the design sensitivities for constrained function minimization and obtain the optimum design. This proposed design strategy is fully automated and requires only an initial design to generate the optimum design. It does not require analysis code modifications to compute the design sensitivities and requires very few costly NASTRAN analyses. The connecting rod design problem was solved as an eight design variable problem with five constraints. A weight reduction of nearly 27 percent was achieved over an existing design and required only thirteen NASTRAN analyses. It is felt that this design strategy can be effectively used in an engineering environment to generate optimum designs of complicated three-dimensional components.

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