Topology optimization of a flexible multibody system with variable-length bodies described by ALE–ANCF

Jialiang Sun, Qiang Tian, Haiyan Hu*, Niels L. Pedersen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    Recent years have witnessed the application of topology optimization to flexible multibody systems (FMBS) so as to enhance their dynamic performances. In this study, an explicit topology optimization approach is proposed for an FMBS with variable-length bodies via the moving morphable components (MMC). Using the arbitrary Lagrangian–Eulerian (ALE) formulation, the thin plate elements of the absolute nodal coordinate formulation (ANCF) are used to describe the platelike bodies with variable length. For the thin plate element of ALE–ANCF, the elastic force and additional inertial force, as well as their Jacobians, are analytically deduced. In order to account for the variable design domain, the sets of equivalent static loads are reanalyzed by introducing the actual and virtual design domains so as to transform the topology optimization problem of dynamic response into a static one. Finally, the novel MMC-based topology optimization method is employed to solve the corresponding static topology optimization problem by explicitly evolving the shapes and orientations of a set of structural components. The effect of the minimum feature size on the optimization of an FMBS is studied. Three numerical examples are presented to validate the accuracy of the thin plate element of ALE–ANCF and the efficiency of the proposed topology optimization approach, respectively.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalNonlinear Dynamics
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)413-441
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Absolute nodal coordinate formulation
    • Arbitrary Lagrangian–Eulerian formulation
    • Flexible multibody dynamics
    • Moving morphable components
    • Topology optimization


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