M.S. student: Conor Riordan
Topology optimization deals with the optimal distribution of material within a design domain. The optimality criterion is usually associated with maximizing a prescribed performance objective (e.g., rigidity, natural frequency, energy absorption), while satisfying functional constraints (e.g., mass, stress, displacement). To this end, the design domain is decomposed into discrete elements. Then, optimization rules selectively remove, add, or redistribute the elements within the domain until the optimality criteria are satisfied. Since no restrictions are imposed in the shape, the resulting structures are novel and might even surprise the designer. However, questions arise when the structure has to be manufactured. Wrong approximations might really affect its performance. The purpose of this research is to investigate the several different approaches currently being explored to alleviate manufacturing limitations with material distributions generated using topology optimization. In particular, two types of approaches are available: manufacturing for optimal topologies and topology optimization for manufacturing. The first approach deals with manufacturing possibilities once the topology is obtained. The second approach deals with manufacturing functional imposed into the optimization formulation so the resulting structure is designed for manufacturing. These methodologies are explained thru a test problem.