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[2024] Design optimisation of structures made of a small number of prescribed building blocks

Lu, H., Lee, T.U., Ma, J. and Xie, Y.M., 2024. Engineering Structures, 304, p.117686. [Link]

Modular structures have attracted significant interest due to their potential to decrease manufacturing cost and time. While the design of modular structures has been extensively explored in the context of topology optimisation, the design of structures made of prescribed building blocks remains understudied. This lack of focus contrasts with the common engineering practice, where structures are typically constructed using prescribed elements, and also with natural structures that usually grow out of a limited number of different building blocks.

Therefore, the current study aims to perform design optimisation of structures made of a small number of prescribed building blocks. To achieve this goal, a sequential linear programming-based method is employed to customise the global material distribution. In addition, two structural modification schemes are proposed to enhance the connections between adjacent blocks. Several numerical examples are presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach. The results show that the developed technique is capable of creating high stiffness structures using various given block sets. In addition, different block sets can lead to structures with similar overall layouts but different periodic infill patterns, making the tool useful in situations where diverse solutions are in demand.


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