Manufacturing tolerant topology optimization

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    In this paper we present an extension of the topology optimization method to include uncertainties during the fabrication of macro, micro and nano structures. More specifically, we consider devices that are manufactured using processes which may result in (uniformly) too thin (eroded) or too thick (dilated) structures compared to the intended topology. Examples are MEMS devices manufactured using etching processes, nano-devices manufactured using e-beam lithography or laser micro-machining and macro structures manufactured using milling processes. In the suggested robust topology optimization approach, under- and over-etching is modelled by image processing-based "erode" and "dilate" operators and the optimization problem is formulated as a worst case design problem. Applications of the method to the design of macro structures for minimum compliance and micro compliant mechanisms show that the method provides manufacturing tolerant designs with little decrease in performance. As a positive side effect the robust design formulation also eliminates the longstanding problem of one-node connected hinges in compliant mechanism design using topology optimization.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalActa Mechanica Sinica
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)227-239
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Compliant mechanisms
    • Manufacturing constraints
    • Topology optimization
    • Robust design


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