Kazuhiro Saitou1

Associate Professor Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Kazuhiro Izui
Research Associate Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

A Survey of Structural Optimization in Mechanical Product Development
The widespread availability of affordable high-performance personal computers and commercial software has prompted the integration of structural analyses with numerical optimization, reducing the need for design iterations by human designers. Despite its acceptance as a design tool, however, structural optimization seems yet to gain mainstream popularity in industry. To remedy this situation, this paper reviews past literatures on structural optimization with emphasis on their relation to mechanical product development, and discusses open research issues that would further enhance the industry acceptance of structural optimization. The past literatures are categorized based on their major research focuses: geometry parameterization, approximation methods, optimization algorithms, and the integration with nonstructural issues. Open problems in each category and anticipated future trends briefly are discussed. DOI: 10.1115/1.2013290

Shinji Nishiwaki
Associate Professor Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

Panos Papalambros
Donald C. Graham Professor of Engineering Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan



Structural analyses in the context of product development refer to the predictions of the product states in response to external loads. In industry settings, they are usually done by conducting finite element analyses FEA on the product geometries generated by computer-aided design CAD software. Since most mechanical products operate under external loads, structural analyses are essential to modern product development processes, where the use of physical prototype is minimized or even eliminated due to the ever-increasing demands for high quality, low cost products with short development time. In the last decade, the widespread availability of affordable high-performance personal computers and commercial FEA software further prompted the integration of structural analyses with numerical optimization i.e., structural optimization , reducing the need of the design iterations by human designers. A very brief history of structural analyses and optimization from an industry perspective can be summarized as follows 1,2 : 1 Pre-1980: Structural analyses became widespread, replacing physical tests. Structural optimization was just not feasible due to high demands on computer resources. 2 1980s: Structural analyses became a tool for design iteration/exploration. Despite growing interests 3 , structural optimization was mostly for researchers. 3 1990s: Coupled with desktop 3D CAD, structural analyses became a main driver for design cycle reduction. Structural optimization became an effective option for some product segments. 4 2000-present: Structural analyses completely replaced physical tests in some product segments. Despite its acceptance as a design tool, structural optimization seems yet to gain mainstream popularity. In light of its potential impact on the product development processes, this paper attempts to provide a bird-eye literature survey
Corresponding author. Contributed by the Engineering Simulation and Visualization Committee for publication in the JOURNAL OF COMPUTING AND INFORMATION SCIENCE IN ENGINEERING. Manuscript received April 13, 2005; revised manuscript received July 3, 2005. Associate Editor: J. Shah.

of the developments in structural optimization research, with emphasis on its relation to mechanical product development. The past literatures are categorized based on their major research focuses: geometry parameterizations, approximation methods, optimization algorithms, and the integration with nonstructural issues. Since structural optimization is a matured research area with 20 + years of rich history, some issues must be inevitably excluded from the discussion, whose choices are biased by the authors’ own experiences. In particular, the following issues are not discussed due to the page limit: CAD/FEA integration, structural optimization in manufacturing process design, composite material design, and biomechanical product design. While the paper attempts to cover representative application areas in mechanical engineering, there is some bias towards automotive applications. Also, the application areas traditionally regarded as outside of mechanical engineering, such as aerospace engineering, civil engineering, naval architectures and shipbuilding, and electrical engineering, have very limited coverage, despite a vast amount of work on the application of structural optimization in these area. The rest of the papers is organized as follows: Sec. 2 provides an overview of the branches of structural optimization researches as addressed this paper. Section 3 discusses the research focusing on geometry parameterization sizing, shape, and topology . Section 4 discusses the research focusing on the methods to approximate costly structural analyses for use within optimization loops. Section 5 discusses the optimization algorithms used for structural optimization. Section 6 discusses the integration of structural optimization with nonstructural issues in mechanical product development. Finally, Sec. 7 summarizes open problems in each category and discusses anticipated future research trends.



Structural optimization is a class of optimization problems where the evaluation of an objective function s or constraints requires the use of structural analyses typically FEA . It can be symbolically expressed in a compact form as 4 : minimize f x subject to g x h x =0 Transactions of the ASME 0

214 / Vol. 5, SEPTEMBER 2005

Copyright © 2005 by ASME

Sizing optimization is typically done in conjunction with feature-based variational geometry 7 available in many modern CAD software systems. and 3 reanalysis methods. 3 reliability and robustness optimization. a continuous range of the length of a bar . sequential approximation algorithms are successfully applied as they exploit the nature of structural optimization problems whose objective and constraints often exhibit near-monotonic behaviors within small variations of x. so holes can be placed within product geometry.1 Sizing and Shape. In sizing parameterization. and h x are usually nonlinear to x. research focuses. related literatures are classified as the ones addressing 1 cost. Surrogate modeling approximates the input-output relationships of structural analyses by means of implicit or explicit algebraic equations. is mostly limited to detailed designs where only the fine tuning of product geometry is necessary. Major classes of approximation methods are: 1 surrogate modeling. topology parameterization is generally suitable for conceptual design. The present paper adopts the third viewpoint. whereas sizing and shape parameterization are effective for both conceptual and detailed designs. and h x involves many structural analyses due to the stochastic nature of the definition of reliability and robustness. so a solution can be obtained within a reasonable amount of time.. g x . naval architecture and shipbuilding. reanalysis methods approximate the analysis result of a new design based on the nonapproximated analysis result of the current design. civil. It can be classified to 1 sizing. a variant of structural optimization has multiple objectives. Although both 2 and 3 are in essence aiming at cost reduction. 3 Research focuses: Geometry parameterization. respectively. In sizing parameterization. they include the papers that explicitly deal with the respective issues.. the standard gage thicknesses of a plate or the existences of structural member in a product . Vol. Approximation methods replace costly structural analyses during the optimization iterations. Other special purpose algorithms include the ones that tightly integrate with. nonlinear and time-transient postbucking and cursh . g x . sizing optimization is relatively a straightforward task since it typically requires no remshing of finite element models during optimization iterations. During the last decade. reduced order modeling builds a simplified version of physical model by dropping unimportant details. 1 Types of geometry parameterization: „a… sizing. automotive. Since most optimization algorithms iterate by slightly modifying a current design. approximation methods. or the mixture of both.g. which are classified to 1 nonlinear programming NLP . For example. the geometry of a product is expressed in terms of a set of dimensions and only the values of these dimensions are allowed to vary. and 3 topology parameterizations as illustrated in Figs. Note g x and h x are vector functions. 1 . however. parametric curves/surfaces. eigenvalues normal modes and buckling . a stress condition against yielding. Topology parameterization allows the change in topology in addition to shape. nonlinear programming algorithms are often used if x is continuous.. structural optimization should be an integral part of nonstructural issues in product development processes. It is of a significant importance in product development since compu- tation time is still a large obstacle against the industry acceptance of structural optimization 6 . metaheuristic algorithms such as genetic algorithms GA and simulated annealing SA have gained popularity in structural optimization due to their global optimization capability. discrete e. Consequently. The design variable x is typically a vector of parameters describing the geometry of a product. In particular. and the ease of computer implementation. design variable x is a predefined set of the dimensions that describe product geometry. 1 a –1 c .Fig. g x . and hence are inseparable from the corresponding geometry parameterizations. x. special algorithms are developed to efficiently estimate the reliability and robustness. Viewed as a tool for effective product development. rather than a scalar function f x. The application of sizing optimization. g x and h x are constrains. aerospace. the need of a large number of analyses is limiting their applicability to practical problems. While there are numerous variations of structural optimization expressed in the form of Eq. 3 Geometry Parameterizations 3. therefore. While surrogate models simply “copy” the input-output relationships with no consideration of the underlined physics. 5 / 215 Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering . product weight. optimization algorithms. the applicability to both continuous and discrete variables. as a primary method to classify the past literatures with special emphasis on mechanical product development. f x . in which case surrogate models are typically employed. Relatively few papers are found in this category. such as mass-spring-damper models of an automotive suspension. The third category in research focuses is optimization algorithms. and microelectromechanical systems MEMS . and constraints on product dimensions. 2 reduced order modeling. its domain D can be continuous e. and h x can be product dimensions. and 4 other special purpose algorithms. can be effective in exploring many design alternatives. Depending on the definition of design variable x. no need of derivative information. beyond the use of simple cost models. 2 Application domains: Generic mechanical. without resorting to expensive Monte Carlo methods. A difficulty arises. and D is the domain of the design variable. they can be roughly classified according to the following three viewpoints: 1 Analysis types: Linear static stress and displacement . especially when coupled with topology parameterization. and 3 product platform design. where the objective function is a vector function f x . This is also the case for reliability and robustness optimization where one evaluation of f x . Since f x . With today’s fast personal computers. Geometry parameterization determines the type of geometry changes that can be described by design variable x.g. objective function f x and constraint functions g x and h x need to be evaluated many times to obtain a solution. Nevertheless. e. Shape parameterization relaxes this constraint so the boundary of product geometry can be changed more freely using. Since optimization is an iterative process. while topology the connectivity among geometric subdomains remains constant. 2 shape. 2 metaheuristic.g. flexible multibody. Due to the amount of design freedom and the difficulty in representing detailed product geometry. in the order of increasing freedom in possible geometry changes. 2 manufacturing and assembly. and „c… topology †5‡ x D. f x is an objective function. 1 where x is a design variable. While these methods. when extremely large finite element models or highly nonlinear phenomena need to be analyzed. and multiphysics. perhaps due to the implicit segregation between the research communities of structural mechanics and of product design. Shape parameterization allows the changes in the boundary of SEPTEMBER 2005. and the integration with nonstructural issues. „b… shape. Also.

toTransactions of the ASME . 41 . the discrete element approach is suitable to conceptual design. Since the displacements are calculated by Finite Element Methods based on force equilibrium. By varying the width/thickness of each member in the design domain between zero in this case the element becomes nonexistent and a certain maximum value. GENESIS 21 . Bendsøe et al. 2 b . 23. An excellent review of shape optimization based on the direct geometry manipulation approaches can be found in 8 . Evolutional Structural Optimization ESO 69.15 . 5. this subsection briefly describes two primal approaches in shape optimization along with major application areas related to mechanical product developments. also known as ground structure approach . In the discrete element approach. fluid-structure 216 / Vol. structure-electromagnetics 40 . sizing and shape optimization has been applied to numerous areas of concern in mechanical product developments. 3 . splines. since the constraints must be translated to the ones on the fictitious loads. structures with different size and topologies can be represented the right figure of Fig. and metamorphic development 75. since gunsmith and irregular boundaries deteriorate the accuracy of finite element analysis or even cause the numerical instability of optimization algorithms. Structural optimization based on the topology parameterization of geometry can be classified to 1 discrete element and 2 continuum approaches. structures with different sizes and topologies can be represented the right figure of Fig. In the indirect geometry manipulation approaches. Instead of eliminating unnecessary structural members. imposing geometric constraints on product boundary is more complicated than the direct geometry manipulation. the automatic remeshing of finite element models is usually required. boundaries are typically represented as smooth parametric curves. a fictitious load is applied on the boundary. Comprehensive history of the area can be found in 56–58 . the design domain is represented as the continuum of “void.2 Topology. such as a binary material approach solved by Genetic Algorithm 5. SEPTEMBER 2005 Fig. many developments have been made in the area of aerospace vehicle design. e. including vibration 25–27 . By this replacement. Since product geometry can change dramatically during the optimization process. Each design element can contain several finite elements. However. Azegami et al. significant developments were made mostly during last two decades.13 . By varying the void/material distributions or the material density within an infinitesimally small microstructure at each location in the continuum.66–68 . displacements. In the spline representation. the resulting new boundary tends to be smoother and less likely to have heavily distorted meshes. which is not covered in this paper due to the space limit.17 . than the ones obtained by the direct geometry manipulation approaches.g. and design elements. Inspired by the continuum approach. In addition to stiffness maximization problems. As a hybrid of the direct and indirect geometry manipulation approaches. later extended to include flexible joints 62 .76 .product geometry. with an expense of additional computational costs. 2 Two approaches for structural topology optimization.” or material with very low density the left figure of Fig. and the design variable x is the coordinates of the key nodes that are allowed to move. In the direct geometry manipulation approaches. and frame elements with ellipsoidal cross sections 65 . compliant mechanisms 42–44 .g. the feasible topologies for a given design domain is limited by the number and types of possible member locations defined in the design domain.24 proposed the Traction Method. panel elements 63.64 Fig. Structural optimization based on the shape parameterization of geometry can be classified to 1 direct geometry manipulation and 2 indirect geometry manipulation approaches. on the other hand. The right figures in Figs. design variable x is the coefficients of the polynomials that describe the boundary shape of the product 9–11 . design variable x is a vector of parameters that indirectly defines the boundary of the product geometry. where the boundary representations are classified as polynomials. A variant of this approach is to use a linear combination of the nonpolynomial basis functions that can better describe desired product boundaries 12. A survey of structural topology optimization from a product design viewpoint is found in 54 . 2 b . and panels the left figure of Fig. and ABAQUS 22 . the continuum approach does not have this limitation. design variable x is a vector of parameters representing the boundary of product geometry. Since structures are represented as a collection of primitive structural members that allow easy interpretation. Variants of the Natural Design Variable method have been implemented in a number of commercial software. 2 a and 2 b illustrate this difference. product geometry is discretized to design elements. frame. In the design element representation. such as NASTRAN 20 . The direct geometry manipulation approaches had been implemented in a number of commercial software such as Optistruct 18 . where the boundary sensitivities are replaced with the velocities of boundary changes in response to the fictitious loads that deform the original shape to the target shape defined by the boundary sensitivities. 2 a . On the other hand. A representative method of the indirect geometry manipulation approaches is the Natural Design Variable method originally developed by Belegundu and Rajan 19 .70 . design variable x is the control points of spline such as Bezier and B-spline curves 14. In shape optimization. Instead. Independent to these developments. Using trusses as structural members. In the continuum approach. 61 presented an Excel-based desk-top tool for the 3D topology optimization of automotive bodies approximated by networks of frame elements with rigid joints. Cagan et al. 77 developed another class of discrete element approaches called shape annealing. strctureacorustics 39 . Topology parameterization allows the changes in the way substructures are connected within a fixed design domain. 56 applied the simultaneous analysis and design SAND . sufficient smoothness of the boundary can be achieved via the direct manipulation of the product boundary. „a… Discrete element „ground structure…. several researchers presented topology optimization methods in discretized meshed design domains. While the optimization of structural topology based on the discrete element approach has a long history that dates back to the early 1900s 55 . microelectromechanical systems MEMS 45–49 . Gil and Andreu 59 conducted simultaneous shape and size optimization. In the polynomial representation. thermomechanical 38 . Thanks to the assumption of a continuum design domain. and „b… continuum. the control points of the boundary surfaces. and buckling constraints. the design domain is represented as a finite set of possible locations of discrete structural members such as truss. which uses fictitious loads applied on the boundaries of the product geometry as design variables. e. crashworthiness 28–37 . 3. and reliability optimization 50–53 . Cellular Automata 71–74 . whose boundaries are represented by a set of key nodes and their interpolation functions 16.. Since shape parameterization is suitable for representing product geometries with smooth external boundaries. and Pedersen and Nielsen 60 solved problems with eigenfrequencies. 2 a .. a new boundary is obtained by adding the displacements induced by these fictitious loads to the original boundary. In each iteration. Nishigaki et al.

and „b… optimal panel configuration. including the integration with surrogate or reduced order models. topology parameterizations . thermal 117 and electrothermal 118–120 actuators. and Radial Basis Function 139. . i i = 1 . Based on the discrete element approach. which was later extended for large displacements 109. and Z x .x j where Y j x is a known fixed function for the global approximation of design space. 107. Bendsøe 82 also proposed another approach called SIMP Solid Isotropic Microstructure with Penalization . topology optimization has been extensively applied to the design of compliant mechanism. 83 and Yang and Chuang 84 . is a popular approximation method since it offers good approximation models for various functions and is easy to be implemented. A continuum approach to topology optimization was first introduced by Bendsøe and Kikuchi 81 in their Homogenization Design Method HDM . topology optimization of structures considering nonlinear phenomena has shown limited successes due to underlying numerical difficulties. .110 and snap-through behavior 111 . A similar problem exists on the use of topology optimization in a large scale. The second is to shorten optimization calculation time by using surrogate functions that can quickly return approximate values.126 . is the realization of a normally distributed Gaussian random process with mean zero and variance . eigenfrequency problems 89–91 . The approximation methods.. A textbook by Bendsøe and Sigmund 86 describes the recent developments. Recently. 2 large-scale problems. it is still a problem after 20 years. and 3 topology optimization based on level set theory. when checking stress concentration and local bucking and failure . SEPTEMBER 2005. applications.. multidisciplinary problems. Radial basis functions.122 .. the first of which is to obtain global the behavior of the original functions that have complex local noises. Tai and Chee 112 and Tai et al. search efforts are desired in these areas.138 . Considering the independent development of level-set based geometry modeling 127. Compliant mechanisms are mechanisms which gain some or all of their motion from the relative flexibility of their members rather than from rigid-body joints 102 . instead of relying on the time-consuming function calls such as crashworthiness analysis 129–134 . through the repeated applications of a shape grammar using simulated annealing 78–80 . This paradoxical situation is due to the increased demands in high accuracy higher DOFs with finer meshes .136 .140 are popularly used. In the situation where representing detailed geometries or smooth boundaries are crucial e. which is further developed by Rozvany et al. The Kriging method provides good approximation models while its implementation is relatively complex and time-consuming. For instance. and in large design spaces e. The idea of a material-based interpolation within the SIMP model was introduced in 85 .Fig. which would have a profound impact on product development processes. k are the coefficients to be obtained via the surrogate model construction processes. 3 3D topology optimization with frame and panel elements †64‡. Compliant mechanism design based on the continuum approach was introduced by Sigmund 106 and Nishiwaki et al. which represents the localized deviations of the approximation model.g. it is expected to overcome the difficulty of the conventional topology parameterization in representing smooth product boundaries without postprocessing and the subsequent sizing/shape optimization. are key technologies for the industry acceptance of structural optimization 6 . These developments lead to the successful applications of optimal compliant mechanism designs for piezoceramic-driven flextensional actutators 114. Artificial Neural Network ANN 137 . therefore. Surprisingly. Saxena and Ananthasuresh 105 developed a method to enforce a prescribed nonlinear output deflection. piezoresistive sensors 116 . Since the level set representation allows topological changes with smooth boundary. Representative surrogate models empirically capture the input-output relationship of structural analyses for evaluating the objective functions and constraints. Hetrick and Kota 104 introduced a concept of efficiency to the problem formulation.Z x j = R xi. nonlinear and multiphysics . micromechanical resonators 121. however. The formulation of the Kriging Method is the following equation: k ˆ y= j=1 jY j x +Z x 2 3 4 cov Z xi . even with the dramatic increase in the computer power in the last decades. and micromechaical bioprobes 123 . complex analyses e. Frecker et al. Further re- Approximation Methods The computation time required for structural analyses was a major obstacle against structural optimization in the 1980s due to the limited computer power in those days. Kriging Method 134. Vol.100 . During the last decade. They are utilized for two reasons. Open research issues on topology optimization may include: 1 nonlinear problems. conceptual designs due to the difficulty in presenting detailed geometries and smooth boundaries.108 under the linear elastic assumption.g. and reliability optimization problems 99.128 .115 . 4 pologies are “grown” from a primitive member in an optimal fashion. 5 / 217 Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering . the results of topology optimization need to be postprocessed to a parametric boundary representation for subsequent sizing/shape optimizations 101 . . 2 . a new class of shape optimization methods based on the level set theory was proposed 124 and later extended to allow limited topological changes 125. 113 proposed a design method for compliant mechanisms based on the ESO approach. „a… Design domain.1 Surrogate Models. . Polynomial Regression. formulated as the following equation.g. the research in this area may lead to a seamless integration of geometric modeling and shape and topology optimization. and optimization under uncertainties 135. 4. and R is the correlation function. 103 posed compliant mechanism design as a multicriteria optimization. The Polynomial Regression approach represents a surrogate function that uses a polynomial expression. A comprehensive list of literatures on HDM and SIMP are found in 87 . automotive crashworthiness problems 92–98 . The continuum approach has been applied to various design problems such as stiffness problems 88 . and details of the SIMP methods. these applications have been limited to high-level. The formulations of the approximation methods are described as follows. However. a second-order polynomial model can be formulated as the following equation: k k ix i i=i ˆ y= 0 + + i=i 2 iixi + i j ij xix j 2 ˆ where y is the estimated function value and k is the number of design variables. Despite several attempts.

„b… lumped parameter. these models would be capable of simulating the crash mode of a body structure with complex topologies. respectively. However. and the crash mode of the optimized EM model could be used to guide design iterations with a detailed FE model to dramatically reduce the total number of FE crash simulations 154. Transactions of the ASME . Sugiura et al. For static analyses of structures with general geometries. Pseudorigid body models 142–146 exploit this fact and model a compliant mechanism as rigid links connected by nonlinear torsional and translational springs. and „c… equivalent mechanism models of a vehicle front subframe †153‡ result single point approximation . Boxlike outlines are shown only to provide a visual clue to human designers. Since reanalysis methods efficiently and accurately estimate the structural responses of a modified design within a small neighborhood of the original design. The methodologies for building reduced order models with right abstraction levels in various application domains will continue to be a challenging research area 141 . Since most crash energy is absorbed by beam-like structural frames in a body structure. 4 „a… Finite element. Due to the massive computational requirements. In particular. Since the construction of surrogate models requires the sample data of the input-output pairs calculated by the structural analyses of detailed product models. Another class of reanalysis methods is based on Taylor series approximation 163–165 .3 Reanalysis Methods. 147 and Tsurumi et al. the method is later extended to nonlinear static analyses. allowing most portions of the members to be seen as rigid links. reanalysis methods only utilize a single analysis 218 / Vol. there is a significant need for reduced-order models for automotive crashworthiness optimization. 4. Of most notable in structural reanalysis is the Combined Approximations CA method 158–160 . Reanalysis is a class of methods for approximating the structural responses of modified designs. With a “right” level of abstraction preserving general geometries of automotive bodies. 4 and 5 could in fact simulate the crush modes with a reasonable accuracy 153 . thereby reducing the size of the problems. flavors of Guyan reduction can be applied to obtain reduced-order models. such large deformations are highly localized to the “hinged” ends of slender members. techniques similar to pseudorigid body models for compliant mechanisms have been successfully applied to automotive crashworthiness 152–157 . Reduced order models have been developed to meet these goals for various applications. and also applied to calculate design sensitivities 161. such as compliant mechanisms and automotive structures. Initially developed for static linear analyses. Fig. and lattice models 149–151 have been developed. reanalysis methods are most suitable for design exploration within a small neighborhood of a nominal design. Since members in compliant mechanisms often experience large elastic deformations. While these models can be computationally inexpensive and also bear some physical roots in underlying crash phenomena. they cannot be used during conceptual design stages when no such models are available. SEPTEMBER 2005 Fig. their integration with robust/reliability optimization seems a very promising research direction. Due to this character. they are too abstract for the examination of crash modes sequences of collapse events . eigenvalue analyses. coarse mesh.2 Reduced Order Models.155 .162 . advancements are desired on reduced-order modeling for multidomain and multiphysics analyses. lumped parameter. Using this method. Hamza and Saitou demonstrated that their equivalent mechanism EM models Figs. 5. due to their increased use in the development processes of many mechanical products. 148 presented reduced order models of an automotive torsion bar suspension and spot-weld joints of thin-walled members in automotive bodies. In contrast to surrogate models that require multiple analyses multipoint approximation . reduced-order models are becoming increasingly more important in product development. with an reasonable accuracy and a computational speed 141 . 4. For an effective concept exploration via optimization. approximation models must be based on physics to allow the interpretation of the resulting designs by human designers. geometric nonlinearly becomes significant. based on the analysis results of a single original design. With the common use of structural analyses during conceptual design. which are essential for early design iterations to identify effective energy-absorbing strategies 153 . and post-optimization sensitivity analyses.164 or Direct Method 165 . where the derivatives of desired structural responses with respect to design variables are calculated by using Adjoint Method 163. 5 Equiavlent mechanism model of vehicle front half-body †155‡. which is based on the reduced-basis approximation of the nodal displacement vector in terms of a binomial series. Guyan reduction is essentially a substructuring method which reduces the problem to a smaller one by relating certain degrees of freedom to certain others by means of constraint equations. As such.ˆ y= i ai X − X0i 5 where ai is a coefficient and X0i is the observed input.

simulated annealing SA methods 204 use a single searching point. and Yoshimura et al. A system level optimal solution is obtained through iterative optimization procedures 183 . In the ATC method. Immune Algorithms IAs 202 . Semidefinite Programming SPD 175 is an effective algorithm that can solve optimization problems with the constraints represented as positive semidefinite matrices. which provide multidisciplinary optimization environments where optimization processes in each engineering discipline are hierarchically connected using linking variables. Hierarchical optimization techniques have been proposed for efficiently solving multidisciplinary optimization problems. 6 . Another important advantage of using GAs is that multiobjective optimization problems can be solved and non-dominated solutions can be obtained in a single optimization run 193–195 . particularly when compared with genetic algorithms. which later evolved to commercial software DOT and GENESIS 21 . Vanderplaats 174 greatly improved the numerical stability of MFD.197 to try and mitigate this. parameter settings for temperature control remains problematic since the optimal cooling schedule depends on optimization problems. and numerous applications. Genetic algorithms seem the most widely used metaheuristic methods in structural optimization.5 Optimziation Methods 5. parallel computing methods have been applied 185. one that mimics the social behaviors of groups of living organisms. Sequential Linear Programming SLP 166 . such as shape optimization 187. the following intervening variables are used for the convex approximation: ˙ xi = 1/ Ui − xi 1/ xi − Li if h/ xi if h/ xi 0 0 for i = 1.177 . Convex Linearization CONLIN 169 uses the following intervening variables to obtain better approximations: ˙ xi = xi if h/ xi 0 0 for i = 1. an approximation is made of the Hessian of the Lagrangian functions in each iteration to generate a quadratic subproblem 4 . and SA computational requirements are relatively modest. the Method of Feasible Directions MFD determines a direction of the next iterate by solving an auxiliary optimization problem based on the gradients of the objective function and the active constrains. have been developed. the calculation of the Hessian becomes cumbersome in large-scale problems. 5.2. approximates nonlinear optimization problems as linear optimization problems. commercial software can now handle many practical structural optimization problems using continuous design variables 184 . Metaheuristic approaches that imitate natural phenomena have been applied to complex optimization problems that cannot be solved using conventional mathematical methods. Since SPD does not require explicit sensitivity coefficients.182 includes a representation scheme for engineering design problems of hierarchical systems. . . Vol. a given mechanical system can be partitioned into multiple layered components. parallel-computing methods for SA are required since the computational cost of SA is higher than mathematical approaches in large-scale problems 206 . Furthermore. When using the Method of Moving Asymptotes MMA 170 . Instead of sequentially solving an optimization problem locally approximated in each iteration. Recently. though some improved methods have recently appeared 198. since GAs are population-based algorithms. and GAs that use parallel processing methods have been developed 196. One crucial problem in the use of GAs is their high computational cost.188 and topology optimization 68 . . better convex approximation techniques have been developed 171–173 .2 Metaheuristic Optimization Methods. MMA provides an improved convexity of approximation. Kumar developed an adaptive move limits setting method to stably obtain good solutions 167 . Many GA-like metaheuristic methods also have been applied to structural optimization such as new crossover 200 and mutation 201 schemes. Particle Swarm Optimization PSO is another metaheuristic method. while the computational efficiency is sensitive to the values of the move limit parameters. also known as Successive Linear Programming. In certain structural applications. However. PSO offers better SEPTEMBER 2005. eigenvalues and buckling loads in structural problems can be easily handled 176. the design optimization of large-scale structures still remains a time-consuming matter. facilitating the achievement of comprehensive optimal solutions. A mixed discrete/continuous design variable problem in mechanical component design was solved by Deb and Goyal 189 . Structural optimization using real-coded GAs has been carried out by Deb and Gulati 190 . .2. however parameters the values of Ui and Li cannot be determined a priori.199 . While SQP provides a good searching efficiency when the number of design variables is relatively small 168 . In Sequential Quadratic Programming SQP . While GAs are population-based optimization methods utilizing multiple searching points in a single iteration.1 Nonlinear Programming Algorithms. Genetic algorithms can be applied to a range of design optimization problems since GAs allow a variety of design variable representations using various types of gene structures. .186 . The Analytical Target Cascading ATC method 181. . applied GAs to cross-sectional shape optimization problems of automotive body frames involving mixed discrete/continuous design variables 192 Fig. Sequential Convex Programming SCP is based on a convex approximation. each of which corresponds to a subsystem that are interconnected using linking variables. 6 Optimization result of cross-sectional shape of automotive body frame using genetic algorithm †192‡ 1/xi if h/ xi where h x are objective or constraint functions. SA can be applied to discrete design variable problems 205 . However. To reduce computational time. Thanks to these developments.n 6 Fig. . SLP can handle a range of objective functions and a large number of design variables.180 . 5 / 219 Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering . Yoshimura and Izui proposed a genotype representation method of hierarchical design alternatives for machine tool structural optimization problems 191 . and Paretofrontier differential evolution PDE 203 to enhance computational efficiencies for obtaining an optimal solution or multiple Pareto optimal solutions. Typical mathematical approaches for solving nonlinear optimization problems such as structural optimization can be represented as iterative processes of approximated optimizations.n 7 Using artificial intermediate variables. techniques such as Bi-level Integrated Synthesis BLISS 178 and Collaborative Optimization CO 179. the handling of constraints still remains difficult. . However.

76 are heuristic methods that can obtain structural optima using only simple local rules. 5.226 developed a simple mathematical constraint for ensuring the manufacturability of topology optimization results via casting processes. introduced robust optimization concepts into multidisciplinary hierarchical optimization systems to evaluate interdisciplinary uncertainty propagations 217 . however. the product weight is often assumed as an implicit representation of product cost. SEPTEMBER 2005 ods can provide very similar solution to mathematical programming methods with a lower computational cost. Uncertain variations can also be handled using Fuzzy sets.224. and metamorphic development approaches 75. Some research addressed this problem as the single-objective optimization of component topologies within the predefined component boundaries 228–231 . Taguchi methods in experiments using orthogonal arrays representing various combinations of control factor magnitudes can obtain conditions. the SafetyFactor Approach SFA . Figure 7 shows representative Pareto optimal multicomponent topologies of a simplified automotive floor frame. 8 shows one of the pareto optimal solutions in 237 .216 .1 Cost. the manufacturability of each component. 227 presented topology optimization of components manufactured by fused deposition processes.70 . To date. 53 enables the single loop calculation while avoiding the need to calculate the reliability index during the optimization process. evolutionary optimization methods 69. where the reliability index is calculated in the inner loop and the design optimization is conducted in the outer loop. uncertainties in different disciplines often show interrelationships where unwanted effects are a factor and may be compounded.235 . With the increasing emphasis on “front loading” in product development processes. product assembly and so on.225 . Robust optimization methods aim to ensure that the objective function is insensitive to variations in design variables. These algorithms require double loop calculations. More recently.52 are used as basic algorithms for the RBDO. Primal approaches have been the utilization of feature-based variational geometry representations in sizing and shape optimizations 7. However. multiphysics problems can be solved using simple local rules. In multidisciplinary design. to evaluate the robustness of the objective function. Reliability analysis is a method for quantifying the relations between the variations in parameter values and the resulting performance insufficiencies or failures. such double loop calculation approaches result in an extremely high computation cost.3 Reliability and Robustness Optimization Methods. the design optimization process and the reliability analysis can be strictly partitioned and conducted in reduced calculation time 212 .g.e. 6 Integration With NonstructruaL Issues 6. with the consideration of the manufacturability and assemblablity of each component 232. As an extension of 235 . Zhou et al. Therefore. or as one of multiple objectives in addition to weight and structural responses 220–222 .4 Other Methods. represented the design variable variations using Fuzzy sets and provided a robust optimal solution that considers the correlations of design variables 214 .searching efficiencies for obtaining global optimal solutions than genetic algorithms. the Reliability Index Approach RIA and the Performance Measure Approach PMA 50. However. Such techniques are called Reliability-Based Design Optimization RBDO techniques 50 .233 . the integration of structural optimization with design for manufacturing and assembly and design for X in Transactions of the ASME . The SLSV method proposed by Chen et al. based on a signal to noise S/N Ratio 213 .. 5. With the recent emphasis on concurrent engineering 223 . As a result. joint locations and joint attributes in a given product geometry. 18. subject to the constraints on weight and structural responses 218. The general optimization techniques described above often can provide the optimal solutions for practical optimization problems set by designers. The Single Loop Single Variable SLSV method. Since complex product geometry is often realized by assembling multiple components with simpler geometries.208 . proposed a topology optimization method based on reliability analyses using truss elements 51 . clarified that a reliability-based design optimization method can be applied to a topology optimization problem based on continuum mechanics 100 . Gu et al. where the space frame structure of an automotive body is optimally decomposed for the overall structural stiffness. These approaches are later relaxed to allow variable component sizing 234.2 Manufacturing and Assembly. José et al. the use of structural optimization in practice has been limited by the lack of manufacturing considerations. the premises of optimization problems occasionally differ from practical design cases due to the uncertainties in material forming. These methods are expected to be more widely used in practical design cases if complex structural optimization problems such as largescale. and the corresponding assembly sequence to realize the adjustability Fig. e. Du and Chen 211 proposed the SORA method that transforms a probabilistic design problem to an equivalent deterministic optimization problem using an inverse reliability assessment for checking the constraint feasibility. during conceptual design. The SFA proposed by Wu and Wang 210 introduced the concept of safety-factor in reliability design problems into optimization problems. optimized for stiffness against multiple loading conditions and the manufacturability and assembleability of each component 236 .. In most structural optimization work. Fig. Furthermore. Cellular automaton approaches 71–74 . and the Sequential Optimization and Reliability Assessment SORA method are popular techniques in which the double loop problems are transformed to single loop problems to reduce calculation time. Kharmanda et al. the explicit inclusion of cost is of a practical importance from a product development viewpoint. the optimization of multicomponent structural products based on product-level design objectives is of a significant engineering interest. the minimization of product weight does not necessarily imply the minimization of product cost. A variety of design optimization techniques based on reliability analysis have been proposed 209 . While the single-objective formulation is simple. and used approximately equivalent deterministic constraints. optimization methods have been developed that take such uncertain factors into consideration. Despite the recognition of its potential. fuzzy sets can be used in multiobjective problems to represent designers’ preferences 215. and the adjustability of desired dimensions indicated as KC: key characteristics during the assembly process Fig. while others addressed as the multiobjective optimization of component boundaries i. 8b . In the SFA and SORA methods. attempts have been made on the integration of structural optimization with design for manufacturing DFM . but accurate reliability indexes can be calculated for multiple failure-mode problems. Recently. the multiobjective formulation is attractive when the examination of multiple pareto-optimal designs for costperformance trade-off is of interest. This assumption is valid when the material cost in the structure accounts for a majority of the total cost of a product. 8 a . Therefore. especially for problems that include numerous continuous design variables 207. When manufacturing and assembly costs depend much on product geometry specified by design variable x. 5. the “optimized” design must usually go through significant manual design changes since they are initially not economically manufacturable. where the effect of uncertain noise is minimized.219 . These meth220 / Vol. and variable product topologies 236 . Cost is typically incorporated as an only objective. Murotsu et al. 6. Arakawa et al.

and efficient global optimization algorithms to these problems. the CAD/FEA integration is also an important area of research. reduced order modeling of multidomain. 7 Pareto-optimal multicomponent topologies of a simplified automotive floor frame subject to multiple loading conditions. the optimal structural platform design will keep drawing much attention from industry. automotive. Fellini et al. component manufacturability. The future research in this area will continue to address some or all of open research issues discussed in the earlier sections. Future Trends This paper attempted to provide a bird-eye survey of the structural optimization. with a special emphasis on its relation to product development. and the adjustability of dimensions K1–K5 during assembly process. 2 Technologies for large-scale structural optimization: efficient approximation methods for large-scale. and containing “structural optimization” and “product development” in subject. Figure 9 shows the number of conference and journal papers written in English appeared in Compendex between 1980 and 2004 with classification code 6*. title. design optimization with FEA/Optimization software. the identification of a potential platform s requires the determination of the location of platform boundaries in each structure and the design of the joints common to all structures. Vol. 238 presented a sensitivity-based method for identifying potentially sharable design variables among multiple optimization problems with mild differences. research and development are highly desired to realize seamless integration of initial geometry creation with CAD software. In addition to the advancements in the above areas. much needs to be done to improve its practical applicability. Due to its potential impact on cost reduction. 5 / 221 Fig. and integration to design-for-X. and will continue to be an active research area. its use in product development is relatively new and seems yet to gain a mainstream popularity in industry. design iterations involving large geometry changes are currently very difficult to automate as an optimization process. which are summarized as: 1 Technologies for structural optimization in conceptual design: method for generating innovative design concepts through optimization. Therefore. and assembleability †236‡ Fig. While not covered in this paper. and marine engineering. The recent adoption of platform architectures in automotive industry motivated the integration of structural optimization with product platform design. While the structural optimization is one of the most extensively researched areas in optimization. 8 „a… Automotive space frame optimally decomposed for overall stiffness. and will contribute to more industry acceptance of structural optimization in product development. based on the quantification of the trade-off between cost gain and performance loss by sharing a platform among multiple vehicle designs.3 Product Platform. and further design detailing with CAD software including the generation of manufacturing data.Fig. optimization. approximation methods. It can be seen that the number has been rising rapidly since 2000. The classification code 6* includes areas such as mechanical. SEPTEMBER 2005. the education of engineers knowledgeable in all of structural analyses. or abstract 7 general became a key issue for enhancing its use in concept generation. and the integration with nonstructural issues. This trend is likely to continue. and robust/reliability optimization problems. 6. accurate and stable coordination schemes for multidisciplinary optimization problems. The past literatures are categorized based on their major research focuses: geometry parameterizations. and „b… the corresponding assembly sequence to realize the adjustability †237‡ Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering . which prevents the direct application of generic platform design methods. optimization methods. Cetin and Saitou 239–241 developed a method for optimally decomposing multiple structures to maximize sharable components while maximizing structural stiffness and minimizing manufacturing and assembly costs. manufacturability. indicating the increasing interests in the topic. multiphysics analyses for rapid concept evaluation. and applied the method to the platform identification in a family of automotive body structures. Due to the limited interoperability between commercial CAD and FEA/Optimization software. nonlinear. considering stiffness. Since structural products such as automotive bodies are often homogeneous. title or abstract. 9 Number of conference and journal papers „written in English… in Compendex between 1980 and 2004 with classification code 6* and containing “structural optimization” and “product development” in subject. aerospace. Although these works demonstrated the potential of optimization-based product platform design to structural products. and product development would be essential for further industry acceptance of structural optimization.

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