WHAT IS TOPOLOGICAL OPTIMIZATION?
Topological optimization allows us to automatically lighten parts using the finite element method. Topological optimization allows us to automatically lighten parts using the finite element method. The topology study starts from basic data of a part (design volume, loads, fixtures, manufacturing controls and study objectives) and executes an iterative algorithm that provides a structurally optimal part.
Finite element-based topological optimization is a process of finding the optimal distribution of material and voids in a given design space, according to loading and boundary conditions, so that the resulting structure meets prescribed performance objectives.
Topological optimization of parts where no manufacturing constraints are applied will result in products with an organic appearance. This is because the material will choose the shortest path from load to constraint, resulting in the most mathematically efficient shape.
This methodology was developed as an advanced structural design technique to generate innovative, lightweight, high–performance configurations.that are difficult to obtain using conventional ideas. As a result, it has become a leading structural design technique for high-performance, lightweight, multifunctional structures, and has been widely used in aerospace, automotive, architecture, etc.
TOPOLOGICAL OPTIMIZATION AND ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING
As we already know, additive manufacturing is an advanced manufacturing technique that builds structures according to a design by joining material layer by layer. This achieves alternative patterns for complex components.
The combination of topological optimization and additive manufacturing makes it possible to take full advantage of their benefits and strengths, with broad prospects for application in modern manufacturing.
Although topological optimization as a design tool has been available for several decades, the constraints imposed by traditional manufacturing techniques have greatly limited its usefulness. This is now changing with the continued development and increasing use of FA in the industry. With FA it is possible to print almost any geometry. Unlike size and shape optimization, structures optimized by topological optimization can achieve any shape within the design space.
Thus, thanks to additive manufacturing the possibilities are almost endless; even more so since additive manufacturing places no restrictions on the shape of the part, the only restriction with additive manufacturing being the minimum wall thickness.
TOPOLOGICAL OPTIMIZATION AND PRODUCT DESIGN
Topological optimization is the most complicated task in structural design optimization problems because the general layout of the structure is not known; however, its application at the conceptual design stage has been shown to reduce cost and development time.
Although topological optimization has a wide range of applications in engineering product design, it is currently used primarily in the design phase to optimize part size and shape.
Topological optimization allows designers to optimize a component or mechanical part,usually by reducing material. Topological optimization allows designers to optimize a component or mechanical part, usually by reducing material. It is actually a form of generative design, which refers to the combination of three different disciplines: design, simulation and optimization.
APPLICATIONS OF TOPOLOGICAL OPTIMIZATION AND ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING
Without the need for additional tooling, moulds or complicated procedures, additive manufacturing is suitable for the fabrication of complex structures which, in addition to saving production costs, shortens the manufacturing cycle (especially in rapid prototyping and small-batch production).
In addition, additive manufacturing facilitates the design of integral structures that reduce the number of parts and assembly processes. Over the past few decades, various additive manufacturing techniques have emerged, such as Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and Fused Deposition Modelling(FDM), among others.
The materials used include metal, polymer, composite, biomaterial, etc. FA fabricated parts range from micro-nano components to large structures. With its powerful customized manufacturing capabilities, AF has broken away from conventional manufacturing techniques and has played an important role in the advanced manufacturing industry, which has wide application prospects in aerospace, mechatronics, medicine and civil engineering.
AF enables engineers to work without the limitations of conventional manufacturing techniques and to pay attention to the design of lightweight, high-performance structures. In turn, topological optimization is an effective approach for additive manufacturing products that require lightweight and innovative configurations.
The integration of topological optimization and AM is an important way to achieve correspondence between structural design and manufacturing.
Additive manufacturing has made it possible for the organic shapes characteristic of topological optimization to be manufacturable and become a symbol of innovation. Its breakthrough in the field of industrial design is remarkable: it brings a great advantage over traditional technologies thanks to the freedom of design (resulting from the possibility of printing any geometric shape).
The generative design allows the creation of new geometric shapes through algorithms and the topological optimization software allows materials to be placed only where necessary, thus reducing the weight and cost of the parts.
In short, topological optimization and additive manufacturing go hand in hand; they are complementary concepts.