1981-11-01

Structural Optimization in the Design Environment 811318

Since the introduction of structural optimization as a tool in the automotive structural design process, a considerable body of experience has been obtained in its practical application to automotive design. It is the purpose of this paper to illustrate this experience by means of several structural optimization examples of the basic load-carrying skeleton and a more detailed model of a panel structure. A complex comparative configuration study will be presented which considers several alternative configurations for front structures. The results of this study indicate that the redundancy of load paths in the automotive structure will allow reduced load capacity in one part of the structure to be compensated for in some other load path. In many cases, alternative configurations may produce approximately equal optimum mass structures. It is concluded that structural optimization offers a unique ability to give high-quality design direction in the early phases of the structural design.

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