Topology optimization is a computational design method that is used to optimize the shape and structure of a design in order to meet certain performance criteria. It is commonly used in computer-aided design (CAD) to optimize the structural performance of products such as aircraft, automobiles, and medical devices.
Topology optimization involves using computer algorithms to identify the optimal distribution of material in a design. The goal is to maximize the performance of the design while minimizing the use of material. This is typically done by defining a set of design constraints and objectives, and then using optimization algorithms to find the optimal configuration of material that meets these constraints and objectives.
Topology optimization is an iterative process that involves simulating the performance of a design, evaluating the results, and then making changes to the design based on the results. It is a powerful tool for optimizing the performance of complex structures and is widely used in a variety of industries.
What is Topology Optimization
Engineers and designers always love to have flat, round & basic shapes for their design. However that will not be the most optimal design. There comes the topology optimization for CAD design and can be defined as a new design process based in an algorithm that helps the designer find the most efficient solution to a specific design automatically.
Once engineer define the constrain like target material, loads, constraint location/features, manufacturing process and requirements. The program/software allow allow automatically create the optimize design for structural part/components.
Multiple manufacturing process, that focusing on topology optimization
- Additive Manufacturing
- Injection Molding
- CNC Milling
- Sheet metal/welding manufacturing
How does topology optimization for CAD design work?
The process goes on “often by removing material from the design”. They also claim that “topological optimization techniques help users work around the limitations of pure shape optimization”.
In other words, topology optimization for CAD design involves optimizing more than just the shape of the design. With software programs. In-CAD topology optimization engineers can:
- Improve strength-to-weight ratios.
- Verify structures will meet the load requirements.
- Include fluid dynamics, thermal transfer and stress calculation in the design process.
Generative design is fully automated process that used to solve for topology optimize design. Based on the different materials, load & manufacturing process. Then generative design engine automatically produces the number of manufacturing ready design to start testing with minimum possible mass with optimal strength by optimizing the topology of the CAD.
Current CAD system that offer Generative Design extension
Many are already introducing topology optimization for CAD design to their software programs like Siemens NX, PTC Creo, Ansys, SolidWorks, Fusion 360,…
For example, Dassault Systèmes added the topology optimization capabilities to SolidWorks when they released Simulation Professional and Simulation Premium in 2018. And their chief executive officer, Gian Paolo Bassi, made the point that “the era of design and validate is about to end. We are entering the era of optimize and manufacture.”
Definitely, there are many benefits from using topology optimization for CAD design, especially for those using additive manufacturing. Let’s wait to see what the future of these technologies has to show.