Extension of sensitivity methods to include higher order terms depends on the ability to compute higher order derivatives of the mass and stiffness matrices. This paper presents a method based on the use of cubic polynomials to fit mass and stiffness matrices across a range of interest of the design variable. The method is illustrated through an example which uses Pade´ approximants to expand the solution to a statics problem. The design variable is the thickness of one part of a plate with fixed boundaries. The solution gives a very good approximation over fivefold change in the value of the design variable.

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