Simple single-scale microstructures based on optimal rank-3 laminates

E. Träff, O. Sigmund, J. P. Groen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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With the goal of identifying optimal elastic single-scale microstructures for multiple loading situations, the paper shows that qualified starting guesses, based on knowledge of optimal rank-3 laminates, significantly improves chances of convergence to near optimal designs. Rank-3 laminates, optimal for a given set of anisotropic loading conditions, are approximated on a single scale using a simple mapping approach. We demonstrate that these mapped microstructures perform relatively close to theoretical energy bounds. Microstructures with a performance even closer to the bounds can be obtained by using the approximated rank-3 structures in a further step as starting guesses for inverse homogenization problems. Due to the nonconvex nature of inverse homogenization problems, the starting guesses based on rank-3 laminates outperform classical starting guesses with homogeneous or random material distributions. Furthermore, the obtained single-scale microstructures are relatively simple, which enhances manufacturability. Results, obtained for a wide range of loading cases, indicate that microstructures with performance within 5–8% of the theoretical optima can be guarantied, as long as feature sizes are not limited by minimium size constraints.
Original languageEnglish
JournalStructural and Multidisciplinary Optimization
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1021-1031
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Inverse homogenization
  • Optimal microstructures
  • Starting guess

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