Robust topology and discrete fiber orientation optimization under principal material uncertainty

Konstantinos Iason Ypsilantis*, Matthias G.R. Faes, Nikos D. Lagaros, Niels Aage, David Moens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper introduces a formulation of the robust topology optimization problem that is tailored for designing fiber-reinforced composite structures with spatially varying principal mechanical properties. Specifically, a methodology is developed that incorporates the spatial variability in the engineering constants of the composite lamina into the concurrent topology (i.e., material distribution) and morphology (i.e., fiber orientation distribution) optimization problem for the minimization of the robust compliance function. The spatial variability in the mechanical properties of the lamina is modeled as a homogeneous random field within the design domain by means of the Karhunen-Loe´ve series expansion, and is thereafter intrusively propagated into the stochastic finite element analysis of the composite structure. To carry out the stochastic finite element analysis per iteration of the optimization cycle, the first-order perturbation method is utilized for approximating the current state variables of the physical system. The resulting robust topology and fiber orientation optimization problem is formulated step-by-step for the minimization of the robust compliance function. With the view of solving the optimization problem at hand by means of gradient-based solution algorithms, the first-order derivatives of the involved design functions w.r.t. the associated design variables are analytically derived. The present work concludes with a series of numerical examples, focusing on the benchmark academic case studies of the 2D cantilever and the half part of the Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm beam, aiming to demonstrate the developed methodology as well as to explore the effect that different parameterization instances of the random field bear on the predicted topology and morphology of the beams.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107421
JournalComputers and Structures
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Discrete fiber orientation optimization
  • Material parameterization scheme
  • Principal material uncertainty
  • Robust compliance minimization
  • Stochastic finite element analysis
  • Topology optimization


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