Configurational optimization of multi-cell topologies for multiple oblique loads

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Journal Article
Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization, 2018, 57 (2), pp. 469 - 488
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© 2017, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany. Multi-cell thin-walled structures exhibit significant advantages in maximizing energy absorption and minimizing mass during vehicle crashes. Since the topological distribution of wall members has an appreciable effect on the crashworthiness, their design signifies an important area of research. As a major energy absorber, multi-cell tubes are more commonly encounter oblique loading in real life. Thus, this study aimed to optimize multi-cell cross-sectional configuration of tubal structures for multiple oblique loading cases. An integer coded genetic algorithm (ICGA) is introduced here to optimize topological distribution of multi-celled web members for single/multiple oblique impacting conditions. Specifically, material distribution in a form of allocating web wall thickness, starting from zero, is considered as design variables and maximization of energy absorption (EA) as the design objective under the predefined peak crushing force and structural mass constraints. The optimization allows generating uniform or non-uniform thickness distribution in different web wall configurations to maximize usage efficiency of material. Compared with the baseline structure, the optimized configurations largely improved the energy absorption in both single and multiple load cases. The examples demonstrate that the proposed ICGA-based design method not only provides a useful approach to searching for novel crashworthy structures in a systematic fashion, but also develops a series of novel multi-cell topologies for multiple oblique loading cases.
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