Topology optimization for thermo-mechanical compliant actuators using mesh-free methods

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Journal Article
Engineering Optimization, 2009, 41 (8), pp. 753 - 772
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This article presents an alternative topology optimization method for the design of compliant actuators using mesh-free methods, in which the thermo-mechanical multi-physics modelling and geometrically non-linear analysis are included. The relatively new mesh-free method rather than the standard finite element method (FEM) is used to discretize the design domain and interpolate the bulk density field, because the mesh-free method is in some cases more capable of modelling the large-displacement compliant mechanisms involving the geometrical non-linearity. An interpolation scheme is used to indicate the dependence of material properties on element pseudo densities which are distributed to the corresponding integration points, and the method for imposing essential boundary conditions in mesh-free methods is also discussed. Furthermore, the adjoint approach is incorporated into the mesh-free method to perform the design sensitivity analysis. The optimization problem is established mathematically as a non-linear programming problem to which a sequential convex programming method is applied. The effectiveness of the proposed method is demonstrated by using a widely studied example.
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