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TOPOLOGICAL OPTIMIZATION OF TRUSS STRUCTURES


USING SIMULATED ANNEALING
a a
A. K. DHINGRA & W. A. BENNAGE
a
Department of Mechanical Engineering , University of Wisconsin , Milwaukee, WI, 53201,
U.S.A.
Published online: 27 Apr 2007.

To cite this article: A. K. DHINGRA & W. A. BENNAGE (1995) TOPOLOGICAL OPTIMIZATION OF TRUSS STRUCTURES USING
SIMULATED ANNEALING, Engineering Optimization, 24:4, 239-259, DOI: 10.1080/03052159508941192

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TOPOLOGICAL OPTIMIZATION OF TRUSS


STRUCTURES USING SIMULATED ANNEALING

A. K. DHINGRA and W. A. BENNAGE


Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. WI 53201.
U.S.A.
Downloaded by [Princeton University] at 20:46 08 October 2013

(Received 6 July. 1994: infinal form 21 December. 1994)

A design procedure for integrating topological decision making in the framework of structural optimization
is presented. The proposed approach facilitates (i) generation and evaluation of alternate structural
topologies, and (ii) development of detailed designs for promising concepts. In contrast with the ground-
structure approach, he proposed method allows for 3n introduction ofnew members in an existing topology.
This is done using 0- I variables to represent topological decisions involving a choice between allernative
designs. Since the topological variables are discrete in nature and the member cross-sections are assumed to
be continuous, the topological optimization problem has mixed discrete-continuous variables. This problem
is solved usinga simulated annealingapproach wherein the search for an optimum topology is simulated as
a relaxation of the stochastic structural system. A probabilistic acceptance criterion is used to accept/reject
candidate designs. Numerical results obtained using simulated annealing for single and multiobjective
topological optimization of truss structures are presented. For multiobjcctive problems, a cooperative game
theoretic approach is used to model the multiple objective functions in the problem formulation.

K E Y WORDS: topological optimization, structural optimization, simulated annealing.

INTRODUCTION

The development of an optimum design in a multistage design process is generally


initiated with a selection of the topology of the candidate solution. The topology
selected is, in general, not unique and is one of many possible solution concepts under
consideration. Despite the feasibility of multiple topologies, most of the research
activity in engineering design including structural optimization is devoted to optimiz-
ation of a single topology, selected based on intuition and experience, with no emphasis
on the optimality of the selected topology. The optimum design for the preselected
configuration may be inferior compared to other feasible topolgies. For instance, given
a set of structural specifications, an optimum five-bar truss is a superior design when
compared with other five-bar trusses, but a four- or a seven-bar truss may yield
significantly better results. Thus, if all possible topologies are not included in structural
optimization, there is a likelihood of missing better designs altogether. Consequently,
to obtain the best feasible solution, it is essential that topological considerations
constitute an integral part of the structural design process.
The layout optimization problems for discrete structures can be broadly classified as
geometric or topological optimization problems'. In geometric optimization, the
cross-sectional areas of the members and/or the joint coordinates are treated as design
variables. The topology is considered fixed and the design variables are assumed to be
239
240 A. K. DHINGRA AND W. A. BENNAGE

continuous. Gradient-based search algorithms are frequently used to solve geo-


metric optimization problems. A two-level approach for geometric optimization
of truss structures was first proposed by Vanderplaats and Moses2. Both the member
cross-sectional areas and the joint coordinates were varied in two distinct, but
coupled design spaces until no further reduction in structural weight was possible.
This idea has been developed further by Lipson and Gwinn3, Kirsch4, and Hansen and
Vanderplaats5. For a survey of the geometric optimization problem for discrete and
continuous structures, see Topping6, Vanderplaats7, Haftka and Grandhis, and
Kirsch1.
In the topology optimization problem, both the topological and the sizing variables
are optimized simultaneously. One of the earliest solution approaches to topological
optimization of structural systems was presented by Michelly using a theorem previ-
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ously developed by Maxwell. This classic work provides a theoretical lower bound,
under a single loadingcondition,on the weight of truss-likecontinua subjected to stress
constraints. However, Michell's structures are impractical because these designs
frequently require an infinite number of bars and joints. Further, no systematic
procedure exists to construct a Michell's structure for an arbitrary set of loads. Recent
analytical treatment of the layout optimization problem is based on optimality
criteriai0 and homogenization method^'^^^^. The current applications of the hom-
ogenization method are restricted to problems in which structural compliance is to be
minimized and buckling constraints are neglected. A comprehensive survey on analyti-
cal approaches to the layout optimization for continuous structural systems is given in
Kirsch'.
T o overcome the impracticalities of Michell structures, most topology optimization
studies for discrete structures are based on the now-classic ground-structure approach
first proposed by Dorn et d l 3 and effectively used till today14. In this approach,
a rectangular grid of nodal points is established each of which represents a possible
joint for truss members. A ground-structure is defined by connecting truss members
between all possible nodes. If n is the number of possible nodal points, the ground-
structure contains n(n - 1)/2 members and is n(n - 1)/2 + 3 - 2n = ( n - 3)(n - 2)/2
degrees indeterminate. Assuming the member forces as design variables, a minimiz-
ation of structural weight results in a linear programming (LP) problem. The design
constraints for this L P problem include the equations of equilibrium at all joints of the
structure. For a single set of loads, the optimum design is statically determine and can
also be viewed as an optimum plastic design. However, this fully stressed design does
not permit a rational consideration of displacement and/or bucklingconstraintsduring
the optimization process.
For the more general case of multiple loading conditions, the minimum weight
structure need neither be statically determinate nor fully stressed15. T o solve such
structural design problems, Dobbs and Felton16 proposed a nonlinear programming
(NLP) formulation for modifying member cross-sectional areas. Aftera certain number
of design cycles, members whose cross-sections are close to zero are deleted from the
structure, and the remaining member areas are modified until an optimum solution is
obtained. The deleted members cannot recenter the design, and there is no evidence
suggesting that an inclusion of these members at some later stage would not reduce the
weight. In addition, the proposed formulation is only applicable to problems in which
TOPOLOGICAL OPTIMIZATION 24 1

buckling constraints are not present. If buckling constraints are imposed, they are
considered only after the optimal topology has been obtained.
Sheu and Schmitl' used a branch and bound technique to cast the Dobbs
and Felton's formulation into a more general form. A lower bound on the minimum
for a candidate topology is first established by solving a L P problem with com-
patibility and displacement constraints being neglected. N L P is then used to
optimize most promising configurations. Although the complete N L P problem is
only solved for promising topologies, the method involves significant computational
effort.
T o avoid the problem of a disjoint feasiblespace illustrated by Sved and Ginos" and
permit the inclusion of compatibility requirements in the design process, an iterative
procedure has been proposed by Farshi and Schmitlg. In this method, redundant
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member forces and cross-sectional areas of all members are used as design variables.
However, in some cases, the proposed approach may not terminate at the true
optimum and the convergence - speed is dependent on the choice of redundants.
A two-stage approach for optimizing stress and deflection limited tiusses subjected to
a single
- load condition has been developed by Ringertzzo.- Both L P and N L P are used
to minimize the structural weight with respect to a given displacement field. However,
there is no proof suggesting that the topology obtained is optimum with respect to
other displacement fields. The effect of compatibility conditions on optimal topologies
of truss structures has been studied by Kirschz1.
Most topology optimization studies have focussed on a deletion of members from
the ground-structure to determine a n optimal topology. The deletion is either done
automatically by allowing member areas to reduce to zero or is done manually as
detailed in Ref. [16]. Little attention has been given to developing methods whereby
new membersare introduced in the structure to achievean optimal design. Spilled22.23
has presented heuristic schemes for assembling structures from smaller modules to
improve the overall design. Using a set of predefined rules, new designs are generated
by adding members to a given initial structure. Both linguistic and algebraic methods
were proposed to modify the structure connectivity. Another notable effort in this
direction is the work of Rosyid and C a l d ~ e l where l ~ ~ a Lamarckian approach to
topological optimization is pursued to determine a practical instead of a globally
optimum topology. However, as noted by Topping6 and Kirsch', rigorous algorithmic
methods for introducing new members in a given structure have received limited
attention.
This paper presents an optimization based framework which integrates topological
- .Drocess and is c a ~ a b l ofe
and m u l t i ~ l eobiectiveconsiderations in the structural design
(i) generating and evaluating alternative design topologies, and (ii) simultaneously
developing detailed optimum designs for promising concepts. The proposed approach
permits an integration of multiple loading conditions as well as buckling and displace-
ment constraints in the problem formulation in an integrated manner. The resulting
nonlinear topological optimization problem has mixed discrete-continuous design
variables. A solution approach to this problem based on the Monte-Carlo annealing
method is presented. The multiple objective functions are handled using a cooperative
game theoretic approach. Numerical results obtained using SA are compared with
those obtained using the ground-structure method.
242 A. K. DHINGRA AND W. A. BENNAGE

TOPOLOGICAL OPTIMIZATION USING SIMULATED ANNEALING

Consider thecombinatorial topological optimization problem (91, F )where % is the set


of possible topologies (finite o r possibly countably infinite) and F:9Z -+R is a real
valued objective function which associated with each topology, t ~ % an , objective
function value F (I). The problem is to find an optimal topology [*EX which minimizes
F over 'n, i.e.
F(t*) = minF(t) (1)
1~91

In the discussion which follows, the initial focus is on the selection of an optimum
topology t * ~ 9 Zwithout any reference to the problem domain under consideration.
Subsequently, the proposed approach will be specialized in a structural designlopti-
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mization context.
An iterative descent algorithm for solving Eq. (1) consists of the following steps:
(i) Select an initial topology t ~ 9 Z .
(ii) Generate candidate topologies in the neighborhood of current topology and
select the best topology t i n the given neighborhood.
(iii) If F ( f ) > F(t), t is a locally optimum solution and the method terminates.
Otherwise let t = f and return to step (ii).
This seemingly reasonable search strategy has one drawback: i t is easily trapped a t a
local optimum. An approach commonly used to overcome this difficulty involves running
the descent algorithm several times from dimerent initial topologies, and retaining the
best local minimum as an estimate to the global minimum. However, for search spaces
with a large cardinality, the computational expense becomes prohibitive. This, in turn,
limits the number of random starts needed to adequately sample the objective function,
and one still does not have any guarantee that theglobally optimum topology has been
found. In simulated annealing (SA), a different approach which permits a limited
acceptance of configurations of increasing F is adopted to overcome the difficulty of
getting trapped in a local minimum. This is in contrast to descent algorithms where
only transitions resulting in a reduction in value of the objective function are accepted.
SA is a search procedure based on the Monte-Carlo method used in the statistical
mechanics of condensed systems. The recent interest in its use as a multivariable
optimization technique began with the work of Kirkpatrick et ~ 1 who . showed
~ ~ the
analogy between simulating the annealing of solids, and solving combinatorial opti-
mization problems. The essential ingredients of the annealing algorithm are as follows.
At each iteration, the current solution is given a small randomly generated perturba-
tion, and the resultingchange in energy (objective) function A E is calculated. If A E < 0,
the resulting change is accepted, but if AE>O, the new state is accepted with
a probability of exp(- AEIK,T) where K, is Boltzman's constant, and T is the
current temperature. If a sufficiently large number of configurations are generated at
each temperature (T), the system attains thermal equilibrium. Consequently, the
probability that the system is in state i at temperature T is given as
TOPOLOGICAL OPTIMIZATION 243

where Eiis the energy of state i, and Z ( T ) is a normalization factor. As T+O, only
minimum energy states have a non-zero probability of occurrence.
The SA algorithm for solving Eq. (1) begins with an initial topology i, usually chosen
at random or, when possible, a heuristically constructed configuration. A candidate
topology j is then generated by choosing a configuration a t random, in the neighbor-
hood 'ni of i. The neighborhood set for solution ;€% is the set sic % of solutions that
are close to i in some metric, i.e. N(i,6,) = si= [ j l j ~ % li
, -jl < Si]. The generation
probability Gij of generating configuration j from configuration i is assumed uniformly
distributed over the neighborhood 9Zi as
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where x(.) denotes the characteristic function of a set. Let H and H' be two sets with
H' c H . Then the characteristic function of set H', ,y,,.,:H-t [0, I], is defined as
,y(".,(h) = 1 if h e H ' and ,y(",,(h) = 0, otherwise. The acceptance probability Aij of
accepting configuration j once it has been generated from configurat'ion i is given as

Here 6 Fij = F (j) - F(i), T, denotes the current temperature and 6 F i s a normalization
constant analogous to the Boltzman constant K , in Eq. (2). The normalization
constant 6 F used herein is the running average of 6 Fir The value of 6 is updated
every time a design with 6 Fij>O is probabilistically accepted. This acceptance
function, which models the Boltzman distribution (Eq. (2)), implies that: (i) small uphill
excursions are more likely to be accepted than large ones, (ii) when T is large, most
uphill moves are accepted, and (iii) as T approaches zero, most uphill moves will be
rejected.
With thegeneration and acceptanceprobabilitiesgiven by Eqs. (3)and (4) respective-
ly, the transition probability Pij(k - 1, k) which denotes that the outcome of the kth
trial is a transition from topology i to topology j is defined as

During the annealing process, each Markov chain ofcandidate topologies is generated
at a fixed value of T,, with T, being reduced between subsequent chains. Essential to the
convergence of the SA algorithm is the existence of a unique stationary distribution for
a Markov chain. The following conditions ensure the existence of such stationary
distributions.
244 A. K. DHINGRA A N D W. A. B E N N A G E

Theorem I (Fellerz6): Let P be the transition matrix associated with a finite homo-
geneous Markov chain which is irreducible and aperiodic. Then there exists a stochas-
tic vector; whose components y, are uniquely determined by

Here; is the stationary distribution ofthe Markov chain, i.e. the probability distribu-
tion after an infinite number of trials. The homogeneous Markov chain with G(T,) and
A ( T , ) given by Eqs. (3-4) are sufficient to insure irreducibility and aperiodicity of the
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Markov chain of candidate topologies generated during the annealing processz7.


Therefor- the stationary distribution: is given as

The similarity between Eq. (8)and Eq. (2) is evident. The normalization factor Z (T) in
Eq. (2) corresponds to the denominator term in Eq. (8). As T-0, 7 converges to
a uniform distribution on the set of globally optimum configurations, i.e.
lim qi(T)= n, where (9)
7'- 0

n
'
= (
lpl-' i@JCp,
0 otherwise

and !lZ,, is the set ofglobally optimal solutions. If X(k) is a stochastic variable denoting
the outcome of the kth trial, then
lim(lim Pr[X(k) = i]) = lim q,(T) = s,or (1 1)
7'-0 k-m T-0

Iirn(lim P~[X(~)ESZ,,,])= I
7'-0 k-m

Eq. (12) reflects the basic property of the annealing algorithm, i.e. the method asym-
ptotically converges to an optimum solution.

TOPOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS IN STRUCTURAL OPTIMIZATION

Consider next an application of the simulated annealing algorithm to the problem of


determining an optimal topology for a structure. The problem specifications include (i)
the loading conditions (single or multiple) the structure must support, (ii) the design
criteria, i.e. stress levels, deflection and/or buckling constraints, (iii) the
attachment points of the structure (to fixed supports), (iv) the allowable volume space,
TOPOLOGICAL OPTIMIZATION 245

and (v) the objective function(s) (single o r multiple) to be minimized. A discrete N L P


based approach to the topology optimization problem is presented next.
First a rectangular grid of nodal points is established in the allowable space, each of
which represents a possible joint for structural members. If n is the number of nodal
points, a total of M =n(n- 1)/2 discrete variables are needed to represent the
topological connections between various nodes. (The cardinality of the set of possible
topologies 1%)= 2M). The discrete topological design variables can assume only
2 values, a 0 or a 1. A 1 will indicate the presence of a structural element between two
nodes. whereas a 0 will represent the absence o f a member. In addition to the M discrete
variables representing topological connectivities, each topology with m members
(m I M ) has a n additional set of m continuous variables representing- cross-sectional
+
areas of structural members. Next, this set of M tn discrete-continuous variables
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representing topological connectivity and detailed design for each candidate topology
is varied until no further improvement in the objective function is possible.
The nonlinear, mixed discrete-continuous variable topological optimization is given
as
min F (t, X*) =f(t, X*) (13)
1

f(t, X*) = min


X
f(t,X) (14)

r~ T= [t l t ~ 2t is
~ feasible]
, (16)
This optimization problem has two loops. The outer-loop (Eqs. (13) and (16))deals with
the determination of an optimum topology whereas the inner-loop (Eqs. (14) and (15))
minimizes the objective function f(X) for each candidate topology. T o insure the
feasibility of topologies generated by the discrete N L P algorithm, certain checks must
be incorporated in the analysis-optimization procedure. These include:
i. Structural members must be present at nodes a t which external forces are
applied.
ii. The optimum topology should be feasible (statically determinate or indetermi-
+
nate), i.e. m r 2 2 j where m is the number of members present in a topology,
r denotes the number of reaction forces, and j is the number ofjoints.
iii. The reduced stiffness matrix [K] of the optimum topology must be nonsingular.
For condition (iii), the singular value decomposition of [K] is used.
Theorem 2 (Golub and van Loanz8): If AER"'"", then there exists orthogonal matrices
U E R m x mand V E R " ~ "such that A = U Z VT where Z = diag(u,,. . .,up), u, 2 a, 2
...u p > 0, and p = min{m,n).
Here ui denote the singular values of matrix A, and A is said to be nonsingular if
up > 0.
Other restrictions which ensure the symmertry of the optimum topology about
specified planes can be imposed as necessary. The optimum combination of n(n - 1)/2
discrete variables determines the optimum structural topology.
246 A. K. DHINGRA AND W. A. BENNAGE

For the inner loop, the optimization problem being solved is of the form
min f ( X ) (17)
such that X E S [ X I X E R " ' , ~ ~2( X01) (18)
Here y , ( X ) denote stress, deflection, and/or buckling constraints imposed on the
structure. T o solve this constrained optimization problem using SA, it is transformed
into an unconstrained problem as
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Here Q ( . ) is a penalty function defined as

and R is the penalty coefficient. For constrained problems such as the one given above
(Eqs. (17-18)), it has been seen that annealing implementations incorporating penalty
functions, in general, yield better solutions than implementations based on an auto-
matic rejection of infeasible solutions29.
The inner and outer-loop optimization problems discussed above are solved using
the simulated annealing algorithm. For both these problems, the control parameter
T is gradually reduced during the annealing process according to the specified cooling
schedule parameters. These include the starting acceptance probability (P,) for
6 F j j = 6 F,the final acceptance probability (P,) for 6 Fij = 6 F, and the number of
temperature reduction cycles (N). From these three values, the cooling-schedule is
defined as follows. Given P,, the starting temperature T, is calculated as

The control parameter T, is reduced during the annealing process by

where a is the cooling factor. As T-0, for design transitions with 6 F . . > O ,
A i j - + OFinally,
. since P, denotes the final acceptance probability for 6 F i j = 6 ~ y a f t e r
N cycles,
T, = T,aN- I , and (25)
TOPOLOGICAL OPTIMIZATION

COMPUTATIONAL PROCEDURE

In the topological optimization problem given by Eqs. (13-16), members may be added
to or deleted from a structure during the design process. Consequently the finite
element model, and the set and number of design variables ( m ) and constraints (q)
change from one iteration to the next during the optimization process. This, in turn,
greatly complicates the design and analysis interactions. Despite these difficulties, it has
been recognized that an optimization of the topology can greatly improve the design.
That is, the potential savings affected by topology optimization are generally more
significant than those resulting from optimization of a fixed topology. The step-by-step
procedure outlined below details the mechanics of the proposed topological optimiz-
ation procedure.
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(i) Establish a rectangular grid of nodal points in the allowable space, each of which
represents a possible joint for truss members. If n is the number of nodal points,
the topological vector (string) has M = n(n - 1)/2 0-1 variables representing
topological connectivities between various nodes.
(ii) Given the values of P,, PJ and N, calculate the cooling schedule parameters T,, TI,
and a. Initialize the cycle counter k and the variable counter i v to zero.
(iii) Given the initial topology S, with member cross-sectional area Xi, construct the
string representing nodal connectivity for topology S,
From the topological
. . string of S;, select randomly a variable k a ~ r 1 ,...,M I to be
altered subject to the restriction that each variable is altered once. Set i v = ; v + 1.
The variable ka is perturbed to generate a candidate topology S j in the
neighborhood of the current topology Si.
Decode the topological string to construct a finite element model of the
structure it represents. Check if the new topology Sj is feasible using the criteria .
discussed earlier. The mechanism for handling infeasible topologies is given at
the end of this procedure. The design variablesat this level are the cross-sectional
areas of the members (Xj). The design constraints include limitations on stress
levels, buckling stresses and/or nodal displacements. It may be noted that the
number ofdesign variables and constraints may change from one iteration to the
next, for it depends on the number of members present in the candidate topology

For the candidate topology Sj, determine Xf which optimizes the objective
function f(Xj) and calculate 6 Fij= F(Sj, X f ) - F (Si, X:).
If SF,, i0, accept the configuration Sj as the current design, i.e. set Si = Sj. If
iv > M go to step (x), else return to step (iv).
If 6 F i j > 0, update 6 F. Compute the acceptance probability A,,( T, ) using the
second half of Eq. (4). Generate a uniformly distributed random number rn over
the interval [0, I]. If rn < Aijgo to step(ix). If i v > M go to step (x), otherwisego to
step (iv).
Accept thecandidate design as the current design, i.e. set S, = ST If i v > M go to
step (x), else go to step (iv).
Update the temperature T, according to Eq. (24), set the cycle counter k = k 1. If +
k > N terminate, otherwise set i u = 0 and return to step (iv).
248 A. K. DHINGRA AND W. A. BENNAGE

In the topological optimization procedure given above, step (iv) deals with the
generation of candidate topologies Sj. If the candidate topology is infeasible, four
different strategies are used to accept/reject ST These strategies are as follows:
Strategy I : Infeasible topologies are automatically rejected.

Strrttegy I I : Infeasible topologies are accepted.

Strrrtegy I l l : The infeasible topologies are probabilistically accepted. The proba-


bilistic acceptance involves generating a random number (rn), uniformly distributed
over the interval [0, I]. If rn < 6 F the infeasible topology is accepted, otherwise it is
rejected.
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Strctregy I V: The infeasible topology is accepted only if Q or more feasible topologies


have been consecutively generated and optimized, otherwise it is rejected.
Step (vi) of the ten-step annealing algorithm outlined abovecorresponds to theinner
optimization loop discussed earlier (Eqs. 14-15)). T o determine the optimum member
cross-sectional areas ( X f ) for topology Sj, two different optimizers are used. The first is
based on the SA algorithm similar to the one presented earlier whereas the second one
utilizes gradient-based method of feasible directions (MFD) o r successive linear
programming (SLP).
The SA-based topological optimization procedure outlined above can handle both
discrete and continuous variables present in the formulation with relative ease.
Further, multiple loading conditions as well as buckling and displacement constraints
- ..
are also considered in an integrated manner. One difficultv with this approach is that
the geometry of each trial topology is optimized. Consequently, the solution process
-
involves significant com~utationaleffort. However. as the numerical results will show
' next, this computationai burden may be justified because the proposed method yields
better solutions than are possible with some of the existing approaches.

Example I : T h e 6-Node Problem


Consider the six-node region shown in Figure 1 which represents possible joint
locations for a planar truss. The objective is to determine a minimum weight topology
which supports the load condition given in Figure la. For this problem, a total of
fifteen 0-1 variables are needed to represent topological connections between various
nodes. The member areas are restricted to lie between 0.1 and 40.0 in2. The truss is to be
-
designed with constraints on member stresses and nodal dis~lacements.The Young's
modulus and weight density of the members are taken as E = lo7psi and p = 0.1 Ib/in3,
-
respectively. The objective function considered is the minimization of structural weight
and can be expressed as

Here A , and 1, denote the cross-sectional area and length, respectively, of member i, and
m denotes the number of members prersent in the topology under consideration. The
TOPOLOGICAL OPTIMIZATION 249
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Figure I (a) Rectangular grid of nodal points (b) Member numbering convention (c) Minimum weight
topology using strategy I (d) Minimum weight topology using strategies Il-IV.

constraints in the problem formulation include:

where u i denotes the stress in member i, cr,,, is the allowable stress (a,,, = 25,000 psi), and
hi, and hi, denote the x and y components of deflection of node i.
The annealing-based topological optimization procedure is executed with the
following parameter values: N = 350, P, = 0.5, PJ = lo-', R = 0.9 and Q = 60. The
optimum design vectors and the objective function values corresponding to the four
previously discussed strategies are given in Table 1. It may be noted that when
candidate topologies are optimized to determine optimum member cross-sectional
areas. a second SA loop is needed. For the inner optimization loop since the design
variables are continuous, both SA and gradient-based optimization methods can be
used. A comparison between the results obtained using these two optimizers is also
given in Table 1 where the columns labelled "Gradient"correspond to results obtained
using M F D or SLP. The starting topology used for these runs are the optimum
topologies determined by the respective annealing strategies (Figures Ic-d).
Based on the results given in Table 1. it can be seen that (i) when the member areas A i
are optimized, either SA or MFD/SLP can be used, and (ii) annealing strategies 11-IV
yield slightly better results than strategy I. For this example, if from the statically
250 A. K. DHINGRA AND W. A. BENNAGE

Table I Topological optimizalion of the 6-node problem.

A re11 Strategy-I Strategy-I1 Strategy-Ill . Strategy-1 V


i n ) SA Grudient SA Gradient SA Gradient SA Grudient

Elements 1.2,4.7.11,12,13,
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1,2,4.7,11,13 1,2,4,7,11,13 1,2.4,7.11,13


present 14,15

/(lbs) 4735.2 4725.2 4728.6 4708.0 4740.4 4708.0 4729.7 4708.0

indeterminate topology given in Figure Ic members with areas a t lower bounds are
,removed, the resulting topology becomes identical to the statically determinaie
topologies obtained using strategies 11-1V. It may be noted that the topology given in
Figure Id is approximately 1921bs lighter than the designs given in Ringertz2' and
S c h n ~ i dThis
~ ~ .is due to the fact that the approach adopted in these works only permits
a deletion of members from the initial topology. Since a mechanism does not exist for
introducing new members in a given topology, there is a likelihood of missing better
designs altogether.

E.~ctrrlple2 :Multiobjectiue Design of the 6-Node Problem


Consider once again the six-node region shown in Figure 1 which represents possible
joint locations for a planar truss. The objective is to determine structural topologies
which optimize three distinct objective functions, namely: a minimization of the
structural weight, a minimization of the deflection of all free nodes, and a maximization
of the fundamental natural frequency of vibration of the truss. The objective functions
can be expressed as

Herc w, denotes the fundamental frequency of vibration of the truss. For this example,
the constraints, material properties, and variables are the same as discussed in
Example 1. However,candidate topologies with overlapping members are not allowed,
i.e. member pairs (I, 2), (2,6), ( 1 3,14), and (14,15) are not permitted (Figure lb).
TOPOLOGlCAL OPTIMIZATION 25 1

The single objective optimization problems are solved first with parameter values:
N = 500, P, = 0 . 5 , =~ lo-',
~ R = 0.9 and Q = 60. The optimum design vectors and the
objective function values corresponding to these minimizations are given in Table 2.
Table 2 also includes the results obtained using the ground-structure approach. It can
be seen that both the annealing and ground-structure based approaches yield identical
results. For this example,since candidate topologies with overlapping membersare not
allowed, the minimum weight topology shown in Figure 2a is 167 Ibs heavier than the
design obtained in Example 1. This statically determinate topology is identical to the
optimum solution given in RingertzZ0 and Schmid30. The statically indeterminate
topologies which maximizef,and minimizef, are given in Figure 2b and 2c respective-
ly. It may be noted that when f3 is minimized, the ground-structure lacking members
2 and 14 (Figure Ib) with Ai = 40.0in2 has a larger deflection (f3 = 2.3053) than the
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optimum solution given in Figure 2c.


Once the results for all three single objective optimization problems are obtained,
a cooperative game theoretic method is used to solve the multiobjective optimization
problem. In this approach, the multiobjective problem is viewed as a cooperative game
where each player corresponds to an objective function to be minimized. The players
engage in bargaining to select a mutually beneficial strategy such that their distance
from the worst payoff (objective function value),f,, is maximized. For a multiobjective
problem involving a minimization of k objective functions, the worst values,f,,, are
determined as
f,,
= max fi(X,*)
j = 1. ....k
i#j

Table 2 Multiobjective topological design ofthe 6-node problem

Area min.f , mas.f2 min./, mux. &I)


(in2) SA GSt SA GS' SA GSt SA GSt

A, 2 1.970
A2 21.193
A3 14.988
A4 6.0543
A5 21.171
4 29.976
A,

Elements 1.4.6.7,
present 11.13

Single objective optimum


Worst objective function values (hfi,).
'Ground structure optimized using the method of feasible directions.
252 A. K . DHINGRA AND W. A. BENNAGE
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Figure 2 Optimum topologies obtained using SA (a) Minimum weight topology (b) Maximum frequency
topology (c) Minimum deflection topology (d) Multiobjective optimum topology.

where X; denotes the optimum solution of the jth objective function when solved as
a single objective optimization problem. The bargaining function B(X) which helps to
determine a compromise solution amongst the k-objective functions is defined as"

B(X) = n LL - S ~ ( X ) I ~ ' ~
k

i=1
(36)

where rvi are the relative degrees of importance associated with the objective functions.
Thus the game theoretic formulation for a multiobjective problem yields

such that
XES* c S, where S* = [XJXES,(A, -L(X)) > 01 (38)
and s denotes the set of feasible solutions (Eq. (15)). A Pareto-optimal design for this
multiobjective problem is given in Table 2 and the corresponding statically indetermi-
nate topology is given in Figure 2d.
The results obtained using single and multiobjective optimization techniques are
intuitively appealing. For instance, a minimization of nodal deflections(f, )implies that
a stronger structure is needed. Therefore, the optimum structure has members with
large cross-sectional areas which, in turn, results in a heavier design. A minimum
weight design, on the other hand, leads to large nodal displacements. The solution
obtained using the multiobjective formulation represents a compromise among the
three conflicting criteria.
TOPOLOGICAL OPTIMIZATION 253

E.~ample3 : The IS-Node Prohlern


Consider next the fifteen node region shown in Figure 3a which represents possible
joint locations for a planar truss. For this problem, a total of 105 0-1 variables are
needed to describe nodal connectivities. If the candidate topologies are required to be
symmetricabout nodes 3,8,and 13, the number oftopological variablescan be reduced
to 57with I'HI = Z5' % 1.44 x 10". Thecross-sectionalareasofstructural membersare
restricted between 0.1 and 5.0in2. Two different loading conditions, characterized as
load case 1 (LCl) and load case 2 (LC2),are considered. They are:

L C l : A force of 20,000Ibs acting downwards at nodes 2,3, and 4.


LC2: Two independent sets of loads are applied. The first set includes a force of
20,000lbs acting downwards at nodes 2 and 4. The second set has a force of 20,000Ibs
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acting downwards at node 3.


For both these load cases, the truss is to be designed
- such that induced member
stresses remain below permissible limits and d o not cause any local o r Euler buckling.
The membersare assumed to be tubular with a nominal diameter dand a wall thickness
r so that the limiting value of Euler buckling stress is

(Q)

Figure 3 (a) Rectangular grid of nodal points (b) Initial topology.


254 A. K. D H I N G R A A N D W. A. B E N N A G E

Here a,,, denotes the compressive yield stress, and I = ndt(dZ+ tZ)/8= nd3t/8. For
local buckling failure in the elastic range3',

The value of K varies between 0.4 and 0.8. Equating the buckling stresses correspond-
ing to these independent modes of failure yields.
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where A = ndt. Thus, simultaneously to avoid both modes of buckling failure in each
member i, the optimum design must satisfy

In Eq. (44)a conservative value of K = 0.4 is assumed, aijdenotes thestress in member


i under load condition j, and A i and li denote the cross-sectional area and length,
respectively, or member i.
Three objective runctions, namely: the minimization of structural weight, the maxi-
mization of fundamental natural frequency of vibration, and the minimization of
deflection of all free nodes of the truss are considered. The objective functions can be
expressed as

In Eq. (47), the summation is carried over all free nodes in a candidate topology. The
design constraints include

Here a,,! is the allowable stress taken as 20,000 psi.


The s~ngleobjective topological optimization problems are solved first with par-
ameter values: N = 1500, P, = 0.5, P , = lo-', R = 0.9 and Q = 60. For these runs, the
TOPOLOGICAL OPTIMIZATION 255

configuration given in Figure 3b was used as the starting topology. The symmetry of
candidate topologies about the plane connecting nodes 3 and 13 is achieved by linking
both the topological variables and the member cross-sectional areas on either side of
this plane. The optimum topologies corresponding to load cases LC1 and LC2 are
given in Figure 4 and 5 respectively. The objective function values are given in Table 3.
The member cross-sectional areas corresponding to these topologies are given in
Bennage3=.
These three single objective optimization problems are also solved using the
ground-structure approach. For load cases LC1 and LC2 the optimum topologies
obtained using the ground-structure approach are given in Figure 6 and 7 respectively.
The objective function values for these topologies are given in Table 4. Based on the
results given in Tables 3 and 4, it can be seen that the optim& solutions obtained using
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the SA-based topological optimization procedurecompare favorably with, and in some


instances outperform, the results obtained using the ground-structure approach.
However, this improvement occurs at a considerable computational expense owing to
the fact that the SA-based procedure requires an optimization of each candidate
topology. With the availability of machines with increased computational power
and/or multiple processors, it is expected that the computational burden of the
proposed procedure will decrease.
Once the results for the three single objective optimization problems are
obtained, the multiobjective problem is solved by combining the three objec-
tive functions according to the game theoretic bargaining model discussed earlier
(Eqs. (37-38)). For both load cases, the optimum topologies obtained using

Figure4 Optimum topologies obtained using SA. Load case 1 (LCI) (a) Minimum weight topo-
logy (b) Maximum rrequency topology (c) Minimum deflection topology (d) Multiobjective optimum
topology.
A. K. D H I N G R A A N D W. A. B E N N A G E
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IC) (dl

Figure S Optimum topologies obtained using SA. Load case 2 (LC2) (a) Minimum weight topology (b)
Maximum frequency topology (c) Minimum deflection topology (d) Multiobjeclive optimum lopology.

Table 3 Desian or IS-node truss using SA

min.,f, n~u.v..f, min.,f, mux. 8(.x)


LC1 LC2 LC1 LC? LC1 LC? LC1 LC2

J', (15s) 197.6; 158.0' 641.0 620.3 5126.3 4004.6 926.7 708.0
&(HZ\ 18.80 20.80 50.56' 52.29' 30.05 14.96 47.43 50.70
,fJW 6.203 5.440 4.784 2.344 0.729' 0.597. 2.253 1.382

B(.r) 0.555 0.688

I r -2 0 0 8 7 21 I2 7 2

* Sin& objective optimum

SA and ground-structure approach are &en in Figure 4 to 7. For single as well as


multiobjective problems, based on the results given in Tables 3 and 4 it can be seen that
for load case LC2: (i) the optimum of values of all three objective functions show an
improvement over corresponding values obtained under load case LCI, and (ii) when
f,,f, and B ( X )are optimized, the static indeterminacy of optimum topologies are lower
than corresponding values obtained under load case LCI.

CONCLUSIONS

A simulated annealing based approach for integrating topological decision making in


structural optimization is presented.The proposed method facilitates(i) a generation 01
TOPOLOGICAL OPTIMIZATION
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Figure6 Optimum topologies obtained using the ground-structure approach. Load case I (LCI) (a)
Minimum weight topology (b) Maximum frequency topology (c) Minimum deflection topology (d) Multiob-
jective optimum topology.

Figure7 Optimum topologics obtained using the ground-structure approach. Load case 2 (LCZ) (a)
Minimum weight topology (b) Maximum frequency topology ( c )Minimum deflection topology (d) Multiob-
jective optimum topology.
258 A. K. DHINGRA AND W. A. BENNAGE

Table 4 Design of IS-node truss using ground structure approach.

min.f, max.f, min.J, mux. B ( x )


LC1 LC2 LC1 LC2 LC1 LC2 LC1 LC2

* Singlc objective optimum


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-
alternativestructural topolosies.(ii)
.. . an evaluation of the feasibilitvand relative merit of
various topologies, and (iii) permits development of detailed designs for promising
. -
topolosies. .
The NLP based tooolosical -optimization procedure allows for an inclusion
of multiple loading conditions, buckling and/or displacement constraints in the
problem formulation in rational fashion. Further, in contrast with the ground-
structure method where uneconomical members are removed during the optimization
process, the proposed procedure allows for an introduction of new members in an
existing topology. The savings effected by the structural optimization p;ocedure
presented herein, which optimizes both the topology and the detailed design, are
expected to be more significant
- than those resulting- from optimization of a fixed
topology. However, one difficulty with the proposed approach is that the geometry of
each trial topology is optimized. Consequently the solution process involves significant
computational effort. Despite this diffickty it has been reconnized that an optimization
of tdpology can greatly improve a design. Therefore, it i s essential that ~opological
considerations constitute an integral part of the structural optimization process.

This research wassupported in part by NSF grant DDM-9111369. This support is gratefully acknowledged.

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