Standard and Multi-Material Topology Optimization Design for Automotive Structures
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Abstract Lightweight design, drawing an increasing attention for structural design in automotive industry, is recognized as an efficient and immediate way to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. Topology optimization, by determining an optimum geometry and material distribution of a structure at an early design stage, serves as the cornerstone for not only increasing the performance of products but also streamlining the entire structural design process. In this thesis, the theory, algorithm, implementation and application of both of the traditional single-material topology optimization and an advanced multi-material topology optimization are presented, which can solve real-world engineering problems in the automotive industry. This research will advance structural optimization methods in academic research, and it is also expected that the developed method and tool would make a profound impact in the design of automotive parts and assemblies in the field. In Chapter 2 and Chapter 3, the traditional single-material topology optimization is explained, and it is applied to the design of an automotive engine cradle and a cross-car-beam (CCB). The computational method helped an automotive tier-1 supplier company produce better engineering products while reducing time and cost of the design process. In Chapter 4, a multi-material topology optimization methodology and its numerical tool are presented. This innovative approach can effectively deal with multiple, dissimilar materials in structural design. Advanced mathematical algorithms, numerical implementation, and practical applications are discussed in detail, and effectiveness and efficiency of the methodology is demonstrated with a variety of engineering problems. Detailed discussions are included in Chapter 5, and recommendations for future work are discussed in Chapter 6.