Multi-Material Topology Optimization: A Practical Method for Efficient Material Selection and Design
As conventional vehicle design is adjusted to suit the needs of all-electric, hybrid, and fuel-cell powered vehicles, designers are seeking new methods to improve system-level design and enhance structural efficiency; here, multi-material optimization is suggested as the leading method for developing these novel architectures. Currently, diverse materials such as composites, high strength steels, aluminum and magnesium are all considered candidates for advanced chassis and body structures. By utilizing various combinations and material arrangements, the application of multi-material design has helped designers achieve lightweighting targets while maintaining structural performance requirements. Unlike manual approaches, the multi-material topology optimization (MMTO) methodology and computational tool described in this paper demonstrates a practical approach to obtaining the optimum material selection and distribution of materials within a complex automotive structure.