Structural Topology Optimization of Multibody Systems
Conference contribution, 2015
Flexible multibody dynamics (FMD) has found many applications in control, analysis and design of mechanical systems. FMD together with the theory of structural optimization can be used for designing multibody systems with bodies which are lighter, but stronger. Topology optimization of static structures is an active research topic in structural mechanics. However, the extension to the dynamic case is less investigated as one has to face serious numerical difficulties. One way of extending static structural topology optimization to topology optimization of dynamic flexible multibody system with large rotational and transitional motion is investigated in this paper. The optimization can be performed simultaneously on all flexible bodies. The simulation part of optimization is based on an FEM approach together with modal reduction. The resulting nonlinear differential-algebraic systems are solved with the error controlled integrator IDA (Sundials) wrapped into Python environment by Assimulo. A modified formulation of solid isometric material with penalization (SIMP) method is suggested to avoid numerical instabilities and convergence failures of the optimizer. Sensitivity analysis is central in structural optimization. The sensitivities are approximated to circumvent the expensive calculations. The provided examples show that the method is indeed suitable for optimizing a wide range of multibody systems. Standard SIMP method in structural topology optimization suggests stiffness penalization. To overcome the problem of instabilities and mesh distortion in the dynamic case we consider here additionally element mass penalization.
flexible multibody dynamics
Structural topology optimization