Integrated Topology and Packaging Optimization Using the Component-Existence Model
Driven by the demand for safer and more sustainable transportation, the automotive industry is experiencing a significant shift away from conventional vehicle architectures toward all-electric mobility platforms. Core to the engineering development and performance of these new models is lightweight systems design to explore the dynamic interaction between underlying structures and modular vehicle components. At the conceptual level, these interactions can be described in terms of both material and component distribution problems. Here, state-of-the-art numerical design methods like topology optimization (TO) can be used to develop the optimum material distribution for vehicle structures considering mechanical responses like stiffness and mass. Similarly, numerical techniques for packaging optimization (PO) can be used to obtain the optimum configuration of vehicle components considering system properties such as packing efficiency and center of mass. New methods for integrated topology and packaging optimization (iTOPO) are enhancing these individual workflows, seeking to couple the two traditionally standalone problem statements into a holistic design process. Through the coordinated treatment of material and component distribution variables, iTOPO methods are posed to unlock significant design freedom in conventional engineering models to ultimately drive high-impact and non-intuitive insights within clean-slate optimization. To advance the field beyond the current methods, this thesis introduces a novel approach for iTOPO. Presented as the component-existence model, this method applies a new class of packaging design variable within the material distribution problem to enable a unified density-based approach. In this work the core theory and implementation build upon a standard TO workflow through the development of new concepts in design fields, mapping functions, and problem statement formulation, while adopting robust techniques for numerical analysis and non-linear programming to drive the solution process. The resulting methodology overcomes key practical and numerical challenges seen in conventional approaches and offers a flexible and scalable iTOPO implementation demonstrated in various examples. This culminates in three automotive case studies to demonstrate the effectiveness of the overall methodology as a practical design tool.