Structural shape and topology optimization using a meshless Galerkin level set method

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Journal Article
International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering, 2012, 90 (3), pp. 369 - 389
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This paper aims to propose a meshless Galerkin level set method for shape and topology optimization of continuum structures. To take advantage of the implicit free boundary representation scheme, the design boundary is represented as the zero level set of a scalar level set function, to flexibly handle complex shape fidelity and topology changes by maintaining concise and smooth interface. Compactly supported radial basis functions (CSRBFs) are used to parameterize the level set function and construct the shape functions for meshfree approximations based on a set of unstructured field nodes. The meshless Galerkin method with global weak form is used to implement the discretization of the state equations. This provides a pathway to unify the two different numerical stages in most conventional level set methods: (1) the propagation of discrete level set function on a set of Eulerian grid and (2) the approximation of discrete equations on a set of Lagrangian mesh. The original more difficult shape and topology optimization based on the level set equation is transformed into a relatively easier size optimization, to which many efficient optimization algorithms can be applied. The proposed level set method can describe the moving boundaries without remeshing for discontinuities. The motion of the free boundary is just a question of advancing the discrete level set function in time by solving the size optimization. Several benchmark examples are used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method. The numerical results show that the proposed method can simplify numerical process and avoid numerical difficulties involved in most conventional level set methods. It is straightforward to apply the proposed method to more advanced shape and topology optimization problems. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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