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Application of structural topology optimisation in aluminium cross-sectional design

Tsavdaridis, K. D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8349-3979, Efthymiou, E., Adugu, A. , Hughes, J. & Grekavicius, L. (2019). Application of structural topology optimisation in aluminium cross-sectional design. Thin-Walled Structures, 139, pp. 372-388. doi: 10.1016/j.tws.2019.02.038


Aluminium is lightweight and corrosion-resistant; however, its low Young's Modulus predisposes the need for better material distribution across its section to increase stiffness. This paper studies a holistic design optimisation approach with the power of structural topology optimisation aiming to develop novel structural aluminium beam and column profiles. The optimisation methodology includes forty standard loading combinations while the optimisation results were combined through an X-ray overlay technique. This design optimisation approach is referred here to as the Sectional Optimisation Method (SOM). SOM is supported by engineering intuition as well as the collaboration of 2D and 3D approaches with a focus on post-processing and manufacturability through a morphogenesis process. Ten optimised cross-sectional profiles for beams and columns are presented. The shape of one of the best performing optimised sections was simplified by providing cross-section elements with a uniform thickness and using curved elements of constant radius. A second level heuristic shape optimisation was done by creating new section shapes based on the original optimised design. The paper also carries out stub column tests using finite element analysis (FEA) to determine the loacl buckling behaviour of the above-optimised aluminium profiles under compression and to investigate the effectiveness of using the existing classification methods according to codified provisions of Eurocode 9. The herein presented work aims to integrate topology optimisation aspects in cross-sectional design of aluminium alloy element building applications, providing thus a new concept in design procedures of lightweight aluminium structures.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Publisher Keywords: Structural topology optimisation, Heuristic optimisation, SIMP technique, Extrusion, Aluminium profiles, Cross-section classification, Eurocode 9
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
SWORD Depositor:
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Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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