This work presents a finite element analysis-based, topology optimization (TO) methodology for the combined magnetostatic and structural design of electrical machine cores. Our methodology uses the Bi-directional Evolutionary Structural Optimization (BESO) heuristics to remove inefficient elements from a meshed model based on elemental energies. The algorithm improves the average torque density while maintaining structural integrity. To the best of our knowledge, this work represents the first effort to address the structural-magnetostatic problem of electrical machine design using a free-form approach. Using a surface-mounted permanent magnet motor (PMM) as a case study, the methodology is first tested on linear and nonlinear two-dimensional problems whereby it is shown that the rapid convergence achieved makes the algorithm suitable for real-world applications. The proposed optimization scheme can be easily extended to three dimensions, and we propose that the resulting designs are suitable for manufacturing using selective laser melting, a 3D printing technology capable of producing fully dense high-silicon steel components with good soft magnetic properties. Three-dimensional TO results show that the weight of a PMM rotor can be slashed by 50% without affecting its rated torque profile when the actual magnetic permeability of the 3D-printed material is considered.

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