Continuous Assignment Development on Topology Optimization in Engineering Design
Other conference contribution, 2022
An engineering course assignment needs to be designed as a stimulating and challenging task for actively engaging students. It is typically required to be solved in an iterative approach using lectures, reading materials, software tools and supervision sessions. Assignments allow for a practical application of a theory to enhance the students’ understanding of the topic with active learning activities to gain continuous engagement in the course. In the Engineering Design and Optimization course at the Chalmers University of Technology, there is a good balance of theoretical lectures and practical aspects in the assignments. One of these assignments is called the cantilever beam challenge. The students are given an iterative task of designing a cantilever beam based on their previous engineering know-how in the first iteration and applying Topology Optimization on a defined design space to minimise compliance and mass in the second set of iterations. This paper aims to examine the students’ performance, from the start of the course, concerning the development that has happened regarding the different software solutions and different additive manufacturing techniques, and to provide the students’ opinions on the assignment. Each year, this particular assignment ranks high in the course evaluation due to its framework, competitiveness and instant feedback on the proposed design solutions with computer analysis and physical experiments with 3D printed models. However, the interesting questions are whether more advanced tools and algorithms support students learning and whether the beams’ performance improves.
CDIO Standards: 5 and 8