Giga-Voxel Structural Optimization

Niels Aage, Erik Andreassen, Boyan Stefanov Lazarov, Ole Sigmund

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The optimal topology of large structural systems has until now been concerned with the design of individual parts and not that of complete assemblies. However, due to recent advances in numerical algorithms tailored for large scale structural optimization this limitation can now be circumvented. In this work we present several examplesdisplaying how high resolution topology optimization can be used to obtain new, as well as already known, insight within the field of structural optimization. To demonstrate the capabilities of the developed framework we apply it to the design of the supporting structure of an entire wing from a Boeing 777 type aircraft. In order to obtain a design that allows for details in the order of those found in existing wing structures, we discretizethe wing with approximately 1.1 billion tri-linear hexahedral finite elements, yielding amaximum element size of h = 0:8cm. The design problem is solved using mathematical programming methods, filters from image processing and a multiple load case problem formulation. The results show how the topology of the wing structure has obvious similarities to nature's own light weight aviation design, i.e. bird bones, and how very fine resolution topology optimization provides new insight and possible weight savings forfuture aircraft designs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 30th Nordic Seminar on Computational Mechanics (NSCM-30)
EditorsJ. Høsberg, N.L. Pedersen
Number of pages1
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event30th Nordic Seminar on Computational Mechanics (NSCM-30) - Copenhagen
Duration: 25 Oct 201727 Oct 2017


Conference30th Nordic Seminar on Computational Mechanics (NSCM-30)


  • Topology optimization
  • Giga resolution
  • High performance computing
  • Finite element methods

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