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AI AA-94-4361-CP

OYTIMIZA'TION OF GEOMETRICALLY NONLINEAR SHELL STRUCTURES USING MULTI-MESHING AND ADAPTIVITY Fred van Keulen Laboratory for Engineering Mechanics, Delft University of Technology, P.O. Box 5033, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands Vassili V. Toropov Department of Civil Engineering, University of Bradford, Bradford, BD7 IDP, U.K Andrey A.Polynkine Institute for Mechanics, University of Nizhny Novgorod, 23 Gagarin Avenue, 603600 Nizhny Novgorod. Russia

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Abstract Automated structural optlmi~ationusing the multi-point approximation method is presented. The finite element method is used for structural analysis, while discretisation errors are controlled using Adaptive Mesh Refinement (AMR). The requested global and local discretisation errors are specified on the basis of the current status of the optimimtion process. In the beginning relativeiy large errors are acccptecl. while near the optimum point the errors arc reduced. Several strategies are studied for combining structural optimization and the AMR. The method is applicd to geometrically nonlinear thin-walled structures.

I . Introduction Nowadays automated structural optimization becomes an csscntial part of practical design processes. In many cases such optirnintion processes use advanced optimization strategies, see [ I ] among others, while finite element modelling is used for the evaluation of the objective and constraint functions. The finite element analysis can be enhanced by the direct evaluation of sensitivities. Howevcr, in many cases the finite element modelling is used as a black box. which does not produce the information about scnsitivities. Automated structural optimization is an iterative process, which requires generally a large number of computationally expensive function evaluations, i.e. finite clement analyses. In order to improve the efficiency of a structural optimiation process, and to reduce the number of calls for finite element analysis, many recent developments have been reported [ 1 1. In the context of nonlinear structural behaviour, we mention the advanced methods for evaluation of the sensitivities reported in, e . g [2,3). The above nieritioncd developments are mainly concerned with the optimization algorithms, evaluation of sen-

sitivities and fast re-analysis techniques. After the pioneering work of Babuska and Rheinboldt 141, Adaptive Mesh Refinement (AMR) techniques became one of the fastest growing areas of interest. The objective of AMR is to achieve reliable finite element solu:ions with a known or prescribed discretisation error, with minimal computational efforts. One of the most popuiar AMR strategies nowadays is based on the error estimator proposed by Zienkiewicz and Zhu [5-91, which is often combined with Super Convergent Recovery techniques [8,9]. To attempt the implementation of AMR in automated structural optimization processes seems obvious nowadays. Pioneering work was done by Botkin and Bennett [lo], AMR was only applied at some steps of the optimization process, while special extrapolation of the finite element resglts was used for the other steps. More recent approaches are reported in [ 11-14]. Although the impiementational aspects vary broadly, in all cases AMR is used to achieve an efficient modelling with a prescribed constant discretisation error. In the present study, we make an attempt to combine a particular AMR strategy with the so-called multi-point optimization method, described by Toropov et al. [15,16). This combination will be used for the optimization of thinwalled structures with geometrically nonlinear behaviour. The same optimization technique without AMR was implemented by Polynkine et al. [17]. In contrast to the above mentioned work on optimization combined with AMR, the prcsent work proposes to embed the AMR into the optimization strategy In a more natural way. This means that a target error for the finite element modelling will be specified depending on the current status of the optimization process, rather than a constant target error. In order to increase the efficiency of the optimization process. it is proposed to reduce the target error as the optimization process progresses. In the beginning of the optimization process the coarsest finite element discretizations are used, then the discretisation becomes finer in subsequent optimi~ation steps. Two strategies for the selection of

Copyright c I994 11y the Awzericrin Institute of Aeronautics cznd Astt-onc~~ltics, Inc. All right reserved


the target error and the evaluation of the discretisation errors will be proposed and evaluated. Ccnerally, the mesh density information, which is required for mcsh generation, is contained in a so-called background mcsh, sce, e.g., [12,13]. However, if the shape of a current intermediate design differs from the shape of the intermediate design corresponding to the available background mesh, some kind of mapping should be applied. In 1 141 a spring model was used for this purpose. Although this offers a rigorous mapping, its implementation and evaluation might be involved. In the present work a simpler mapping is applied, which might be less rigorous, but is simple to implement and requires minor computational cfl'orts. The present work can be seen as a direct extension of thc work reported in 1171. Thcrefore, the present work is subjected to the same restrictions as follows: Optimization is carried out without evaluating sensitivitics. There might be special cases for which this is attractive. e . g , for structures with highly nonlinear bchaviour or when a production process should be modelled bcthre an intermediate design can be evaluatcd. For nonlinear structural behaviour the complete loading history is always recalculated. Thus, the nonlinear solution ol' a previous intermediate design is not used to achieve a present solution, as discussed in, e.g.. [I 81. Numerical applications are restricted to thin-walled structures, which only undergo small linear elastic deformations. Finite element analyses are carried out using the simple plate and shell elements reported in 119-231, which are capable to describe finite rotations. This arc curved elements with corner node displacernent components and rotation about the element sides a5 degrees of freedom. A single integration point is required. The above restrictions mainly influence the efficiency of the total optimization process. In the present study, the rnain point of attention is the combination of the multipoint approximation method with finite element modelling, using A M R in a non-conventional way. It is expected that the present approach can be directly applied without the above limitations, c.g., using sensitivity information as in 1161. In Section 2 the multi-point optimization method will be summarized. Those aspects that are crucial for the present work willbe highlighted. The applied AMR strategy is reported i n Section 3. The interaction between the multi-point optimization method and the AMR strategy will be described in Section 4. Numerical examples will be given i n Section 5.

an iterative approximation concept. According to this technique, the initial optimization problem is replaced with the succession of explicit sub-problems as follows:


subjrct to constraints


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Here k refers to the current iteration number of the optimization process. The design variables are contained in X . The current move limits A:" and B,"' define a sub-region of the original scarch region. The latter is defined by the lower and upper bounds A , and B , , respectively. The -(k) explicit functions I-, (x) , j = 0, ..., M are approximations of the original implicit objective and constraint functions F ~ J To . estimate a posteriori the order of their accuracy in comparison with the implicit functions, the error parameters

can be evaluated, where X ; is the solution of the sub-probIem (1)-(3). The next, ( k + I ) -th iteration starts from the point xi,, . The size and location of the next search subregion depend on the values of the error parameters (4) and the location of X; in the current sub-region. The mathematical programming problem (1)-(3) can be solved by any method because the Uunctions ~ , ( ' ) ( x )are explicit. For the construction of the analytical expression ~ , ( " ( x ) the methods of regression analysis [24] are implemented. At each k -th iteration such expressions are constructed for an individual search sub-region of the problem (1)-(3) only. The explicit functions introduced by ( 1 ) and (2) can be expressed in the following general form:


F(x, a ) .


2. Multi-point approximation technique

Thc multi-point approximation method [15,16] is based on

The vector a = ( a ,, . . ., a,) consists of L tuning parameters, which must be defined on the basis of finite element analyses at certain points of the design variable space. The weighted least-squares method is used to evaluate a in the following way: find for each ?,(x,a) the vector a that minimizes

The subscript p refers to a point in the plan of experiments, P is the total number of such points, x/,is the vector of design variables that defines the point p; w , ~ are weight coefficients. The formulation of the explicit expressions on the basis of the minimization problem (6) can be easily extended to include design sensitivity information, see 1161. The simplest structurc of the implicit functions is n linear function of tuning parameters a :
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gions. The actual number of the previous steps to be included must be specified by the user. In the present study the results of 3 last steps are included into the current plan. Once the structure has been identified. the current mathematical programming problem in (1)-(3) is ~ o l v e d . Thereafter. the conditions

are checked, where e;" arc small prescribed positive values which define thc required accuracy of the approximais not satisfied for all active tions F,(x). If this condition constraints (i.e. 1 - 6s F,VJ I + 6 ,620 , 6 <. I ) or the objective function, thcn the size of the search sub-region must be reduced in the next iteration:

Thc corresponding minimization problem (6) leads to a lincar system of equations [24]. This can be generalized to intrinsically linear functions, see Dsaper and Smith 1241. Results obtained, see [15,16], indicate that the multiplicative function

is the most universal one. For arbitrarily nonlinear approximation functions thc least-square estimation (6) becomes a standard problem of nonlinear programming with respect to the tuning parameters a . The quality of the approximations depends strongly on the values of the weight coefficients w/, . Since the solution of a structural optimization problem usually lies on a boundary of the feasible region, it is reasonable to set the maximum values of the weight coefficients to thc design points that are located close to the boundary of the feasible region. The weights can also reflect the difference in the 3. Adaptive mesh refinement contribution of the information, given by different expcriments, depending on the valuc of the objective function at an individual design point. Adaptive mesh refinement requires an n posteriori error The implemcntational details with respect to the above estimator that yields global as well as local estimates for weights can be found in [15,16]. the discretimtion errors. One of the most popular estimaThe planning of numerical experiments is an important tors was proposed by Zienkiewicz and Zhu 15-91, The crror part of the presented approach. As a reasonable comproestimator is based on the energy norm mise between the simplicity of the implementation and computational efficiency, the plan of experiments consists of thc starting point of a current iteration and one point along each coordinate direction. The size of a step in each coordinate direction is proportional to the same fraction of a search sub-region size. Note that the values of F~(x~,), where o,, is the stress distribution corresponding to the ;= 0,..., M obtained in the previous steps can be used in a , cxact solution, 01: is the finite element solution. E , ] ~ are the components of the elasticity tensor and v is the considcurrent iteration. It is necessary, however, to consider only ered volume. Since the exact solution is generally those points that are located in a few last search sub-re-

Hcre 7 is a reduction factor, 7 ,,,,, > I . If the point x,* is located inside thc X: -th search sub-region (none of the move limits is active) and thc approximations are accurate enough. then this point can be considered . In that as the current approximation of the solution x,,,,, case. the next search sub-rcgion should be rcduccd and the othcr conditions of the search termination should he checked. The s i ~ reduction c follows as 3'" '1):=1'" - ~~,q~7,,,/ where T , ~ , , , ) , ~ > I denotes a reduction factor. Otherwise. it' some of the side-constraint conditions (3) are satisfied as equalities, the search sub-region will be moved in the direc* * tion X, - 3 , without changing its s i ~ e . Depending on the accuracy of thc approximations, either a new plan of experiments in thc next search sub-region should be chosen or the approximations can be used once more in the new search sub-region. The search process is tcrminatcd when (i) thc conditions (9) are satisfied. (ii) none of the move limits is active and (iii) [he sub-region has reached a required small size.

unknown, this distribution is approximated. For this purpose an improved solution o,, is constructed on the basis of the available finite element solution 0 ; . This can be done in several different ways. The simplest approach is to construct a stress distribution which satisfies continuity at the element boundaries using the element shape functions and, e.g.. nodal values that are found from an averaging process. The latter is a typical example of a local projection technique, see [25] for more details. Recently, the so-called Super Convergent Patch Recovery Technique has been reported [8,9]. This technique considers for each vertex node the patch of elements connected with it. In a patch the stress distribution is assumed as

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o*. v =

Z~ , , ~ ( . r ~ ) a x ,( " )

where / ~ , , p , ) represent polynomials. As an example, if 0,: is taken linear within each patch, the polynomials are (XJ= xi , ~ - ' , ~ ~ = (x2 x~ and ) P,,,(\-J = X, . The P 'J I (xi) = I , P 1 12 latter should be omitted for 2-D problems. The constants contained in d i l l ) are determined from a least square fit of (12) into the stresses from the finite element solution at the integration points. Hence n j r l ) is obtained from

here I is equal to the number of integration points in a patch and .rl(IT) are the coordinates of the integration point p . Nodal values corresponding to the recovered solution follow, after solution of (13), directly from (12). A stress is then constructed using these recovered distribution nodal values. and the simplest possible shape function. The above summarized Z-Z estimator is valid for both 2-D and 3-D problems. Furthermore, it is noted that estimators developed for linear problems can generally also be used in the nonlinear regime as pointed out by Rheinboldt 1261. However, in some cases (especially if localized plastic deformations occur, see [27]j stress based error estimators are not suitable. For shell and plate problems the norm given by (I I ) can be expressed in terms of the tangential stress resultants Nab and tangential stress couples M , ~ . Applying Classical Laminated Plate Theory, see [28] among many others, it straightforwardly follows that the norm can be written as


exact distribution for N and M have been introduced. Applying the above error estimator to shell structures is slightly involved. This is due to the fact that a two-dimensional stress distribution is available. contained in N and M , while the shell surface is in a three-dimensional space. Hence some complications appear if the super convergent patch recovery technique is applied. Here a rather simple approach is adopted, namely, the recovery is done in an approximating tangent plane to the shell surface at the patch node. Therefore at the considered vertex node, the normal to this approximate tangent plane is calculated as the average of the normals to the elements of the present patch. Another possibility would be to specify this normal during the pre-processing phase. The implementation of the latter approach is more involved and requires information which is not always available in a general finite element code. It is therefore not followed here. Once the tangent plane at the vertex node is constructed, the components of N and M are transformed to a new coordinate system in the tangent plane. Since the normals to the plane spanned by the three vertex nodes of a single element in the patch and the above tangent plane generally do not coincide, such transformation is non-unique and has an approximate character. Note, that the introduced errors decrease if the element sizes are reduced. After this transformation the recovery takes place in the tangent plane. Obviously, the above transformations have to be applied again in order to transform the recovered nodal values to element axes. After the global error and the individual element contributions are known, a new estimate for the local mesh density can be made. However, it should be specified what part of the global error corresponds to an individual element. Often this is done in such a way that each element gives an equal contribution, see, e.g. [5-91. Therefore, the permissible contribution for a single element; : ;E is estimated by



here NE denotes the number of elements and p is a relative error tolerance. In the absence of singularities the new mesh size ;:;I/ is often estimated by

The ratio r is defined as

;filZ] M T = [ M I :MZ1;MIZ] , A , B and w ~ t hivr = D the laminate stiffnesses, R the area of the problem and 07 = [NT .n/lT] . Note that in (14) the approximations to the


Here ~ e l r n l specifies the actual error contribution corresponding to a single element. Generally, p is taken identical to the order of the polynomials. This was criticised in [29]. Actually, a problem mainly occurs in cases of curved boundaries. In that case one might find a series of oscillating mesh densities. This difficulty is in the present study

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circumvented by using p = 1.5. This leads to good numcrical rcsults. In the present work mesh generation is done using the advancing front method, which is capable o f generating meshes o f triangular elements on an arbitrary surface in 3D spacc. The mesh generator used here is a further elaboration on the method dcscribed in [30]. Most essential differences are ( i ) the fact that local mesh densities are taken into consideration, and (ii) that arbitrary surfaces can be handled. Aftcr the mesh generation has been carried out a node relocation algorithm is applied to improve the element conditions. Mesh density information can be specified in two different manners. In the first, the mesh density is an ordinary user specified function. In the second, the mesh density is contained at the corner nodes o f a background mesh. Between these corner nodes linear interpolation is used. A problem occurs i f the geometry corresponding to the present problem differs from the background mesh. Normally this will not happen in standard A M R processes. However, in the prcsent study we can use background mesh information, corresponding to a previous intermediate design with generally a different geometry. In [14) the above problem was solved using a model which is composed o f springs. A first advantage is that it offers a complete cover by the background mesh o f the region to be triangularised. apart from very small regions at curved boundaries, which practically do not yield any difficulties. A second advantage o f that method is that it offers a rnapping which does not lead to overlaps. The mapping requires thc approximate solution o f a system o f equations. the order o f which is two times the number o f corner nodes. As a rcsult. the iniplcmentation might be slightly involved. For [he present work it is important to define so-called mastcrpoints. These are taken as the starting and end points o f all boundary curves specified by the user. Formally, the region to be triangularised can be specified as
SL( X ; y a ) = .r, , with y,

ordinates L~ identical in the original and the transformed background mesh, hence

An implicit relation between the locations in space corresponding to the previous and the current configuration follows from (1 8). I t can happen, that the set o f equations which determines [>< becomes (nearly) singular. In that case only the two nearest masterpoints ' y a i A - ^ " ( c = I , 2 ) are considered. Corresponding 2-D unit vectors s and n are defined then by

Using these vectors the mapping is defined as


ya ( k -



( 1 8)

Here X denotes again the vector o f design variables, X , and ! , refer to three and two-dimensional coordinates, respectively. Hcnce S, specifies the surface as a function o f a set o f 2-D surface coordinates y, . The latter belong to the subspace determined by 0 ( X) . It will be sufficient to consider a map, as discussed abovc, in the 2-D coordinates v, only, corresponding to two different intermediate designs, say x(" I) and x(~) . Thcrefore the 2-D locations o f all masterpoints are evaluated for both designs. These are denoted by "'yai" " and ,?I iil , where the superscript rn refers to a particular masY, terpoint. Then for each node (.yiLi1 ) o f the background mesh the three nearest masterpoints ( c = 1 . . .3 ) are sought and the area coordinates L~ o f this current node with rcspect to the triangle formed by 'Y," I ) are calculatcd. The mapping is now established by taking the area co-

The set o f equations defined by (23)becomes only singular i f the masterpoints are identical. It is rather easy to avoid this situation. There can be several motives for criticism o f the above method. The first is that the method can cause overlaps. This can be demonstrated by considering a single element, the nodes o f which are assigned to different sets o f masterpoints. There is no mechanism to prevent the case that after the mapping the area o f the transformed element becomes negati\ie. Obviously, it corresponds to overlaps in the background mesh. Furthermore, it can happen that some elements become severely distorted. Clearly these two situations are morc likely to happen i f the changes o f the geometries are large. However, it should be noted, that the background mesh information coming from another intermediate design can never be considered as accurate background mesh information, especially i f large geometry changes happen. This information should be considered as a best guess for the required mesh density. Thus, the above shortcomings do not seem restrictive. A further complication is the fact that the background mesh does not necessarily cover the complete region. Again, this effect is more pronounced for large changes o f

the geometry. This problem is solved by using a search algorithm that finds for each point outside the region of the background mesh the "best" corresponding element at the boundary. In that case, the mesh size is found by means of extrapolation. If the mesh sizc becomes smaller than the smallest mesh size in one of the nodes of the corresponding background element, the smallest nodal value will be assigned. The main advantagcs of the proposed method are the computational efficiency and the relatively simple implementation.

tion. This process is repeated until the errors are sufficiently small. As far as the element contributions are concerned, the ratios defined by ( 1 7) are checked for each element.
Method II

4. Adaptive meshing strategies

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The errors are only evaluated for the starting point (first iteration) and for the optimum points found after each step of the iterative optimization process. This is done in the same way as described for Mcthod I. Hence the background mesh created for the last optimum point serves as a basis for the triangularisations reiated to the current optimization step. In all numerical examples in Section 5 the finite element discretisation is considered as sufficiently accurate if the global error satisfies E s 1.25; and r < 2 5 for all elements. Here is the requested error tolerance. The former condition is generally easier to satisfy than the latter, so that finally the global error is somewhat lower than the target error q .

One of the most important questions to be answered in the present context is: how the adaptive mesh refinement is implemented in the structurd optimization process. The basic idea followed here is to use relatively coarse finitc element models in the beginning of the optimization process, and as the optimum solution is approached closer, finite element models will be getting finer. Thus, the discretisation error must be specified in accordance with the current status of the optimization process. The proposed approach is that the target error p , used for the adaptive mesh refinement, is a linear function of the size of the current subregion. Hence,

5. Examples
In this section two numerical examples are offered to show the features of the proposed technique. In these examples the 2-D description of the curved boundaries is given by

The choice of the coefficients C , and C 2 is far from trivial. Accepting in the beginning a large error would rcsuit in function evaluations which possess a high level of noise. In turn, this leads to a slow convergence of the optimization process. If an error is too large, certain phenomena can even be overlooked. On the other hand, taking the error i n the beginning very small would make the optimization process unncccssary expensive. At the optimal point the error should be sufficiently small. But again, if it is too small the process becomes inefficient. At thc present stage, the authors do not already advocate a sophisticate error strategy, rathcr than selecting these coefficients on the basis of some numerical cxpcrience. Another important part of the adaptive mesh strategy is how the discrctisation error is controlled. In the present study two different methods are considered:
Method I

y =

C alsl.

Here a, are constant vectors and s is a normalized coordinate 0 I s I 1 . The vectors a , are determined from
= Y,, ~(0)

= Ye ~(1)

where y , and y r are the locations of the first and last point, respectively; t , and t r are the corresponding tangent vectors.

5.1 Plate with an initially square hole

The first example considered here is a square plate with an initially square hole at the centre. A similar problem was studied by Hinton et al. [12,13]. The initial geometry, loading conditions and the material properties are specified in Fig. 1 . Note that only one quarter is modelled. The optimization problem is to find the shape of the hole, such that the volume becomes minimal, while the Von Mises stresses

The discretisation errors are evaluated for each plan point, i.e. after each finite element analysis. Together with the error estimation, a new background mesh is always created. If the global error or one of the element contributions is found to be too large, finite element analysis is carried out again for the current plan point. This is done using the newly created background mesh as a basis for the triangularisa-

Thickness: 0.1 mm
po = 100/650 ~ / m m *

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Fig. 1 Definition of the initial configuration of a plate with a square hole.

Fig. 2 Results for a plate with an initially square hole using Method I. The initial mesh is before applying AMR. remain smaller than 7 . 0 ~ / m r n ~ The . boundary curve of the hole is described by (26) resulting in 6 design variables, being the location of point A (x,) , the location of point B (J,) , the tangent vectors to the curve at A and B , specified by tA and t R , respectively. Thus,

while the lower and upper bounds are taken as

A =

10.0 10.0

0.01 0.01

"01 0.01]

while the objective function equals 27334mm3 and the normalized stress constraint is 1.0557 . For the first iteration step the requested error was 8.85 %, while for the last step the requested error was 5.32 5%. This corresponds to C, = 0.55 and C, = 0.0s. For the last configuration the global error of 4.02 % and r = 1.93 were found. The first sub-region is taken as 0.1 of the original one. The reduction factor rhi,, is taken equal to 1.1. In order to compare the performance, the history of the design sub-regions corresponding to the first two design variables is given in Fig. 3, i.e. the boxes are determined by A , ( L ) and B , ( ~,) i = 1 , 2 . Other 2-D slices of the &dimensional search path show essentially the same behaviour. Fig. 3 shows that the first iteration steps are used to get a rough estimate of the location of the optimum point. Thereafter the sub-regions are subsequently reduced, as well as the discretisation errors. It should be noted that for the majority of the plan points only one calculation was sufficient, i.e. the discretisation based on the background mesh evaluated for a previous plan point gave a sufficiently accurate solution. The plan points for which a recalculation was carried out are mainly located in the first few iteration steps, where large shape changes are applied. Note that for these sub-regions the requested errors are still relatively large. For Method I1 a series of calculations was performed in order to investigate the influence of the different control parameters. For this series of calculations the optimization process was often stopped after a number of steps, which was sufficient to show the essential aspects of the corresponding iteration process. The first run is carried out using the default settings of the optimization algorithm [15,16], i.e. the first sub-region is taken as 0.25 of the original search region and the reduction factor z,>~,~, is taken as 1.5. The coefficients specifying the error are C, = 0.35 and c, = 0 . 0 s . The history of the sub-regions corresponding to the first two design variables is shown in Fig. 4. The resulting objective function is 30872 and the normalized stress constraint 1.005. The behaviour shown in Fig. 4 is rather typical for the present approach; the optimization algorithm considers the approximate model as inadequate, and consequently the sub-region is reduced, leading to a finer finite element model. Note that due to the refining process the function

respectively. The starting point is taken as

which leads to an initially square hole. Some of the intermediate designs and the corresponding meshes found using Method I are depicted in Fig. 2. The last design corresponds to




Fig. 3 Design sub-regions in the plane of the first two design variables for the plate with an ~mtiallysquare hole using Method I.

Fig. 6 Optimum shape found with a fixed mesh density. Fig. 5 History of the sub-regions corresponding to the plate with an initially square hole. The reduction factor zbo, equals 1.05. evaluations possess a higher level of noise than for a fixed mesh density. Thus, the sub-regions are reduced too rapidly and become too small to reach the optimum point within a reasonable number of optimization steps. The sub-regions are already very small, and generally this implies that the optimum point is nearly reached, however, in the present case the sub-regions remain moving. Since the discretisation error is directly connected with its size, the optimization process can become rather inefficient. This problem can be circumvented if the sub-regions are not reduced too fast. In the first example, using Method I, this was done by selecting a reduction factor rho, equal to 1.1. If this rednction factor is too small, i.e. the size reduction is insufficient when the approximations are inadequate, the convergence is also influenced negatively. This is shown by the results depicted in Fig. 5, which corresponds to the value of 1.05 for the reduction factor T, . From these results, it is seen that the sub-region remain moving through the design space, while the finite element discretisation remain coarse. To verify the sketched influence of the AMR, the optimization process with a fixed mesh density was carried out, while in the optimization algorithm the default settings were applied. The results are depicted in Fig. 6 and Fig. 7. The corresponding objective and normalized constraint function are 28716 and 1.009, respectively. Notice, that there is now no automated control of the discretization error. In contrast to Fig. 4, Fig. 7 shows better convergence. For further comparisons the calculation using Method

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. '

x* A1 1 Fig. 7 History of sub-regions corresponding to the first two design variables for a fixed mesh density. I1 with the reduction factor zb0, equal to 1.1 and an initial sub-region the size of which is 0.25 of the original search region, was carried out. The design was found after 30 iterations, it is specified by

while the objective function and the normalized constraint function are given by 27881 and 1.0085, respectively. The corresponding discretisation error for the last design is given by a global error of 3.7%, and r = 1.5 . The history of the sub-regions corresponding to the first two design variables is shown in Fig. 8. This figure shows two interesting aspects. The first is that for the present calculation, although the final discretisation error is comparable with the calculation carried out with Method I, there is a slightly stronger tendency for "drifting" near the optimum point. The second aspect is that it demonstrates that a large initial sub-region can result in much more optimization iterations

Fig. 4 History of the sub-regions corresponding to the first two design variables, using default settings for the optimization algorithm and using Method 11.

Fig. 8 History of the sub-regions for a plate with an initially square hole, using method 11, with a reduction factor equal to 1.1 and an initial sub-region of 0.25.

tamed out with relatively large sub-regions and discretisation error. This was confirmed by many other numerical experiments using both methods. Note that iteration steps using a large discretisation error are relatively inexpensive. However, none of the experiments considered so far, has shown any advantage originating from such steps. Such steps might prevent from ending in a local minimum.

5.2 Cylindrical support As a demonstration of shape optimization for thin-walled structures with geometrically nonlinear behaviour, a support is considered which presents a part of a cylindrical shell. The support has two planes of symmetry and is loaded by an outward radial line loading at the centre line. The initial configuration and the boundary conditions are depicted in Fig. 9. The radius of the cylindrical shell equals lOOmm and its thickness is 0.1 mm . The material behaviour is specified by E = 2.1 x l ~ ~ ~ and / m vm = 0.3. ~ The curves DE and AB are described using (26) and cylindrical coordinates (cp, 2 ) . The following geometric quantities of the outer contour are specified: (p, = n / 2 , Z, = 25mm, tq = 0 , z , = l m m m , qc = 0 , t,B = 0 , zC = 100mm, cpD = 0 , Z, = 50mm and ( p , = n / 2 . The 8 design variables are

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E Fig. 10 Design of support with geometrically nonlinear behaviour, also the sub-regions corresponding to the first two design variables is shown.
constraints are applied, namely, the Von Mises stresses should remain smaller than 150N/mm2, all displacement vectors should remain smaller than lomm and the effective tangential stress resultants should remain smaller than 3 N / m m . It is noted that the initial design violates the constraints. The initial volume is 560.9mm3. Due to symmetry only one quarter is modelled, using geometrically nonlinear response analyses. AMR is exclusively applied at full load level. 'The following control coefficients are used: C , = 1.15, C, = 0.05, T~~~ = 1.1, while the initial sub-region is selected as 0.1 of the original one. The new design, which is found after 13 iterations, is depicted in Fig. 10. The sub-regions for the first two design variables are also depicted in Fig. 10. The global error for this configuration is 5.8% while r = 1.77. The corresponding design variables are

with lower and upper bounds

A=[O-200 0-200 -10-2 1.250

respectively. The initial design is given by

The objective function is the volume, while three global


the objective function is 649.3 and the normalized constraints are 0.974, 0.826 and 0.994, respectively. Notice that the objective function has been increased. The present example shows that the present approach is directly applicable to nonlinear problems. Here a significant advantage can be achieved as compared to strategies with a constant requested error, since the finite element analyses are much more computationally involved.

6. Discussion and conclusions

a Fig. 9 Initial configuration of a cylindrical support with two planes of symmetry. Point C corresponds to the centre point.

A combination of structural optimization based on the multi-point approximation method and the finite element method using Adaptive Mesh Refinement has been established. The requested errors are taken proportional to the size of the sub-regions and two essentially different strategies for applying AMR are used. The discussion and conclusions given below are still based on a restricted number of numerical test cases. Further testing and refinement of the proposed approach is still in progress.

A simple mapping has been proposed to establish a new background mesh on the basis of the previous intermediate design (Method I) or the last optimum design (Method II). The numerical examples show that this mapping is a proper basis for AMR during structural optimization with shape changes, otherwise for Method I much more recalculations should be found out at individual plan points. Generally the convergence of a structural optimization process without the present AMR strategies is better, i.e. require less optimization steps. This can be explained by the fact that the noise level of the objective and constrained functions becomes higher compared with a single mesh density finite element modelling. It should be noted, that the present approach is efficient, since with AMR different meshes are used with the rather coarse discretizations in the beginning of the optimization process. The default settings used earlier in [15,16,17], for the present optimization algorithm can become inadequate. It seems, that in the present approach the reduction of the subregions should be more conservative. It is often advantageous to select an initial sub-region smaller than it would be without AMR. Clearly, by doing the latter, the chances of ending in a local minimum are increased. The choice between Method I and Method I1 is not easy. If Method I is applied, especially in the beginning of the optimization process where large shape changes take place, it can result in many recalculations for plan points located far from the optimum point. On the other hand, the quality of the function evaluation is better, i.e. the level of noise is lower. Thus, it can be observed, that Method I leads generally to a better convergence of the optimization process, but, especially in the beginning, a larger number of finite element analyses can be required per individual sub-region. The choice of the better method depends strongly on the specific definition of the optimization problem at hand. If the shape changes lead, e.g., to the appearance and disappearance of all kinds of singularities and stress concentrations in the beginning of the process, Method I requires a lot of recalculations and becomes expensive. If this is not the case, Method I becomes more efficient due to a better convergence of the optimization process. There are several aspects that require further attention. The way the requested error is selected, depending on the size of the sub-regions, is rather simplified. A more sophisticated approach could be, to try the estimation of the effects of discretisation errors on the location of the optimum point, and to use that information to specify the requested discretisation error. Another point which requires further attention is the effect of the maximum allowable value of the ratio r , which controls the local errors. It was observed, especially for Method I, that specifying some value for this ratio gave a significant improvement of the optimization process. This effect can be explained; if a mesh satisfies the global error criterion, the error distribution can be far from optimal. If for a next plan point error estimation and a new background mesh are created again, this information about local errors

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can result in a better error distribution. Especially, if local values, such as stresses or strains, determine constraints, the values of such constraint function can be rather sensitive to the actual finite element discretizations. Hence an important source of noise is introduced. By specifying a value for r , this effect is reduced significantly. However, the used maximum value of 2.5 was just a first guess, and was not justified anyhow yet. Finally, it seems that the proposed approach leads to a promising basis for structural optimization with shape changes, as it is a rather natural way of combining the multi-point approximation method and adaptive mesh refinement. The principal advantage is that computer time can be reduced due the fact that coarse discretisation are applied in the beginning of the optimization process, while closer to the optimum point finer discretizations are used.

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Acknowledgement The first and second author greatly appreciate the travel grants offered by NWO and the British Council. The first author expresses his appreciation for the support given by MARC-Europe.