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Topology optimization using the discrete element method. Part 2: Material nonlinearity

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Eric Masoero, Professor Peter Gosling



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2022, The Author(s). Structural Topology Optimization typically features continuum-based descriptions of the investigated systems. In Part 1 we have proposed a Topology Optimization method for discrete systems and tested it on quasi-static 2D problems of stiffness maximization, assuming linear elastic material. However, discrete descriptions become particularly convenient in the failure and post-failure regimes, where discontinuous processes take place, such as fracture, fragmentation, and collapse. Here we take a first step towards failure problems, testing Discrete Element Topology Optimization for systems with nonlinear material responses. The incorporation of material nonlinearity does not require any change to the optimization method, only using appropriately rich interaction potentials between the discrete elements. Three simple problems are analysed, to show how various combinations of material nonlinearity in tension and compression can impact the optimum geometries. We also quantify the strength loss when a structure is optimized assuming a certain material behavior, but then the material behaves differently in the actual structure. For the systems considered here, assuming weakest material during optimization produces the most robust structures against incorrect assumptions on material behavior. Such incorrect assumptions, instead, are shown to have minor impact on the serviceability of the optimized structures.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Masoero E, O'Shaughnessy C, Gosling PD, Chiaia BM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Meccanica

Year: 2022

Volume: 57

Pages: 1233-1250

Print publication date: 01/06/2022

Online publication date: 08/04/2022

Acceptance date: 08/02/2022

Date deposited: 19/04/2022

ISSN (print): 0025-6455

ISSN (electronic): 1572-9648

Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media BV


DOI: 10.1007/s11012-022-01492-x


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