Trends In Structural Optimization: Some Considerations in Using Standard Finite Element Software 860801
Structural optimization has seen remarkable progress in recent years, and is now recognized as a practical design tool. The ingredients of a structural optimization computer code include finite element analysis, sensitivity analysis, and optimization. Each of these are now available, but are seldom contained in a single computer code. Notably, sensitivity analysis must often be calculated as a post-processing operation to the finite element analysis. These various aspects of structural optimization are discussed, with emphasis on sensitivity calculations. Examples are given to demonstrate the present state of the art. It is argued that, while experts in the field can now create this capability by combining existing software, this is still a major task. Thus, it is most desirable that general-purpose, commercial software be created at the earliest possible date in order that this technology be used to its potential. It is concluded that structural optimization is a technology whose time has come.