Article originally published in Benchmark Magazine by NAFEMS, the International Association for the Engineering Modeling, Analysis & Simulation Community. Find out more at nafems.org.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the engineering research community began to buzz about a new concept called topology optimization. The homogenization method for topology and shape optimization was first introduced by Martin Bendsoe and Noburo Kikuchi in 1988, and it had the entire research industry talking.
The concept of mathematical optimization allows a user to provide a guided objective and constraints, then let the computer run the study in loop to find the ideal answer. Topology optimization algorithms follow this same process while optimizing the shape and topology of a structure. The resultant outputs produce parts that meet size and functional requirements within the allotted design space while using the minimum amount of material.