Design of distributed compliant micromechanisms with an implicit free boundary representation

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Journal Article
Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization, 2008, 36 (6), pp. 607 - 621
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In this paper, a parameterization approach is presented for structural shape and topology optimization of compliant mechanisms using a moving boundary representation. A level set model is developed to implicitly describe the structural boundary by embedding into a scalar function of higher dimension as zero level set. The compactly supported radial basis function of favorable smoothness and accuracy is used to interpolate the level set function. Thus, the temporal and spatial initial value problem is now converted into a time-separable parameterization problem. Accordingly, the more difficult shape and topology optimization of the Hamilton-Jacobi equation is then transferred into a relatively easy size optimization with the expansion coefficients as design variables. The design boundary is therefore advanced by applying the optimality criteria method to iteratively evaluate the size optimization so as to update the level set function in accordance with expansion coefficients of the interpolation. The optimization problem of the compliant mechanism is established by including both the mechanical efficiency as the objective function and the prescribed material usage as the constraint. The design sensitivity analysis is performed by utilizing the shape derivative. It is noted that the present method is not only capable of simultaneously addressing shape fidelity and topology changes with a smooth structural boundary but also able to avoid some of the unfavorable numerical issues such as the Courant-Friedrich- Levy condition, the velocity extension algorithm, and the reinitialization procedure in the conventional level set method. In particular, the present method can generate new holes inside the material domain, which makes the final design less insensitive to the initial guess. The compliant inverter is applied to demonstrate the availability of the present method in the framework of the implicit free boundary representation. © 2007 Springer-Verlag.
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