Extensions of Finite Element Technology for Automated Design

by Garret Vanderplaats, Engineering Design Optimization Inc, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Computer Utilization in Structural Engineering

Abstract: The finite element method, by itself, is an efficient analysis tool with which we can judge the quality of a proposed design. However, by coupling finite element analysis with numerical search techniques, we can create an automated tool to perform many key design decisions. The purpose here is to review this technology and to identify the present status and prospects. Several key developments have played a role in developing the technology, including the optimization algorithms themselves, computation of necessary gradient information within the finite element program and efficient coupling of the analysis and optimization. These are reviewed and issues related to the effective use of optimization are addressed.

Subject Headings: Finite element method | Structural design | Structural analysis | Coupling | Automation | Algorithms | Computer software | Optimization models

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