Design Improvements Using Finite Elements and Optimizing with Approximate Functions

by Mark C. Imgrund, Swanson Analysis Systems Inc, Houston, PA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Electronic Computation


A design optimization module has been added to the finite element program ANSYS, designed to aid the engineer in reaching an improved or optimum design. The numerical technique employed is substantially different than classical optimization methods. Objective functions and behavioral constraint functions are approximated by a best fit of trial solutions, and successive steps toward an optimum design are chosen based on unconstrained minimization calculations (SUMT algorithm) with these approximate functions. The mechanics of the method and how it is incorporated into a general purpose finite element code is described. Modelling and design strategies for using this technique are presented and are clarified by specific examples in the field of structural engineering.

Subject Headings: Finite element method | Structural design | Optimization models | Algorithms | Standards and codes | Structural models | Structural analysis | Mathematics

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