PurposeThe purpose of the paper is to propose a homogenization-based topology optimization method to optimize the design of variable-density cellular structure, in order to achieve lightweight design and overcome some of the manufacturability issues in additive manufacturing.Design/methodology/approachFirst, homogenization is performed to capture the effective mechanical properties of cellular structures through the scaling law as a function their relative density. Second, the scaling law is used directly in the topology optimization algorithm to compute the optimal density distribution for the part being optimized. Third, a new technique is presented to reconstruct the computer-aided design (CAD) model of the optimal variable-density cellular structure. The proposed method is validated by comparing the results obtained through homogenized model, full-scale simulation and experimentally testing the optimized parts after being additive manufactured.FindingsThe test examples demonstrate that the homogenization-based method is efficient, accurate and is able to produce manufacturable designs.Originality/valueThe optimized designs in our examples also show significant increase in stiffness and strength when compared to the original designs with identical overall weight.
Rapid Prototyping Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 20, 2017
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