Topological design of compliant smart structures with embedded movable actuators

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Journal Article
Smart Materials and Structures, 2014, 23 (4)
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In the optimal configuration design of piezoelectric smart structures, it is favorable to use actuation elements with certain predefined geometries from the viewpoint of manufacturability of fragile piezoelectric ceramics in practical applications. However, preserving the exact shape of these embedded actuators and tracking their dynamic motions presents a more challenging research task than merely allowing them to take arbitrary shapes. This paper proposes an integrated topology optimization method for the systematic design of compliant smart structures with embedded movable PZT (lead zirconate titanate) actuators. Compared with most existing studies, which either optimize positions/sizes of the actuators in a given host structure or design the host structure with pre-determined actuator locations, the proposed method simultaneously optimizes the positions of the movable PZT actuators and the topology of the host structure, typically a compliant mechanism for amplifying the small strain stroke. A combined topological description model is employed in the optimization, where the level set model is used to track the movements of the PZT actuators and the independent point-wise density interpolation (iPDI) approach is utilized to search for the optimal topology of the host structure. Furthermore, we define an integral-type constraint function to prevent overlaps between the PZT actuators and between the actuators and the external boundaries of the design domain. Such a constraint provides a unified and explicit mathematical statement of the non-overlap condition for any number of arbitrarily shaped embedded actuators. Several numerical examples are used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed optimization method. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.
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