PurposeThe optimal material microstructures in pure material design are no longer efficient or optimal when accounting macroscopic structure performance with specific boundary conditions. Therefore, it is important to provide a novel multiscale topology optimization framework to tailor the topology of structure and the material to achieve specific applications. In comparison with porous materials, composites consisting of two or more phase materials are more attractive and advantageous from the perspective of engineering application. This paper aims to provide a novel concurrent topological design of structures and microscopic materials for thermal conductivity involving multi-material topology optimization (material distribution) at the lower scale.Design/methodology/approachIn this work, the effective thermal conductivity properties of microscopic three or more phase materials are obtained via homogenization theory, which serves as a bridge of the macrostructure and the periodic material microstructures. The optimization problem, including the topological design of macrostructures and inverse homogenization of microscopic materials, are solved by bi-directional evolutionary structure optimization method.FindingsAs a result, the presented framework shows high stability during the optimization process and requires little iterations for convergence. A number of interesting and valid macrostructures and material microstructures are obtained in terms of optimal thermal conductive path, which verify the effectiveness of the proposed mutliscale topology optimization method. Numerical examples adequately consider effects of initial guesses of the representative unit cell and of the volume constraints of adopted base materials at the microscopic scale on the final design. The resultant structures at both the scales with clear and distinctive boundary between different phases, making the manufacturing straightforward.Originality/valueThis paper presents a novel multiscale concurrent topology optimization method for structures and the underlying multi-phase materials for thermal conductivity. The authors have carried out the concurrent multi-phase topology optimization for both 2D and 3D cases, which makes this work distinguished from existing references. In addition, some interesting and efficient multi-phase material microstructures and macrostructures have been obtained in terms of optimal thermal conductive path.
Engineering Computations – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 11, 2019
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