Topology optimisation of manufacturable microstructural details without length scale separation using a spectral coarse basis preconditioner

Joe Alexandersen, Boyan Stefanov Lazarov

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This paper applies topology optimisation to the design of structures with periodic and layered microstructural details without length scale separation, i.e. considering the complete macroscopic struc-ture and its response, while resolving all microstructural details, ascompared to the often used homogenisation approach. The approach takes boundary conditions into account and ensures connected andmacroscopically optimised microstructures regardless of the difference in micro- and macroscopic length scales. This results in microstruc-tures tailored for specific applications rather than specific properties.Manufacturability is further ensured by the use of robust topology optimisation. Dealing with the complete macroscopic structure and its response is computationally challenging as very fine discretisations are needed in order to resolve all microstructural details. Therefore, this paper shows the benefits of applying a contrast-independent spectral pre-conditioner based on the multiscale finite element method (MsFEM) to large structures with fully-resolved microstructural details. It is shown that a single preconditioner can be reused for many design iterations and used for several design realisations, in turn leading to
massive savings in computational cost. The density-based topology optimisation approach combined with a Heaviside projection filter and a stochastic robust formulation is used on various problems, with both periodic and layered microstructures. The presented approach is shown to allow for the topology optimisation of very large problems in Matlab, specifically a problem with
26 million displacement degrees of freedom in 26 hours using a single
computational thread.
Original languageEnglish
JournalComputer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering
Pages (from-to)156-182
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Topology optimisation
  • Multiscale design
  • Microstructure
  • Manufacturability
  • Multiscale FEM
  • Spectral preconditioner

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