Topology optimization

Topology optimization is a computer-aided method used in product development to identify potentials for optimization at a very early stage in the development process. The Department of Lightweight Construction Technologies implements topology optimization to assist design engineers with development tasks. Design suggestions generated by the optimization software show how specific components can be designed using less material. The advantage of structures with optimized topologies lies in the fact that only the exact quantity of material is used that is necessary for a component to fulfill its function. Diverse structural and dynamic aims and restrictions are defined for the optimization process. For example, by stipulating a maximum weight, a solution is generated with the highest degree of rigidity. Other optimization goals may be to minimize stresses, increase natural frequency or reduce component mass. Typical restrictions are generally related to production processes, such as the easy removal of cast components from molds, symmetry specifications or limitations for wall thicknesses. Topology optimization results are validated via an FEM calculation and then implemented by the design engineer. By optimizing topologies, natural resources can be utilized efficiently and sustainably. An added benefit is the fact that products developed by this method are cheaper to manufacture.