Since its beginnings in the late 90s, the use of continuum-based topology optimization has grown considerable and today it is not only a very active field of research but also a customary part of the CAE tool chest for the design in industry.
However, some substantial challenges remain that make it difficult to take the result of the optimal topology and create a manufacturable structure or material system from it. One of these challenges is the incorporation of localized structural criteria often related with failure modes, such as stresses and damage. Another difficulty is that the optimal topologies generally do not conform to a design that can be manufactured and do not take into account the production cost. Because of these challenges, even in the instances when topology optimization is used in the design process, often the final design significantly departs from the topology optimization results.
Our mission is to develop state-of-the-art computational structural optimization methodologies that:
- Incorporate realistic failure mode criteria
- Render designs that are cost-effective and/or close-to-fabrication for a given manufacturing process
- Simultaneously consider the design of a structure and a material system
These capabilities will expand the role of computational design of structures and material systems in the early concept design and advance our ability to push the limits of physical performance (including multifunctional systems), lightweight, and cost effectiveness beyond what is possible today.
Our vision is that one day we will be able to:
- Rapidly obtain during the early concept design stage drastically different designs for different fabrication systems
- Achieve new levels of physical performance or tailored multifunctional behavior by simultaneously designing the structure and material system