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Novel morphologies of aluminium cross-sections through structural topology optimization techniques

Grekavicius, L., Hughes, J. A., Tsavdaridis, K. D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8349-3979 & Efthymiou, E. (2016). Novel morphologies of aluminium cross-sections through structural topology optimization techniques. Key Engineering Materials, 710, pp. 321-326. doi: 10.4028/


In the last decades, the deployment of aluminium and its alloys in civil engineering fields has been increased significantly, due to the material's special features accompanied by supportive technological and industrial development. However, the extent of aluminium structural applications in building activities is still rather limited and barriers related to strength and stability issues prevent its wider use. In the context of the extrusion characteristic, appropriate design in aluminium crosssections can overcome inherent deficiencies, such as the material's low elastic modulus. This paper investigates a new breed of cross-sectional design for aluminium members employing pioneering structural topology optimisation techniques. Topology optimisation problems utilise the firmest mathematical basis, to account for improved weight-to-stiffness ratio and perceived aesthetic appeal of specific structural forms. The current study investigates the application of structural topology optimisation to the design of aluminium beam and column crosssections. Through a combination of 2D and 3D approaches, with a focus on post-processing and manufacturability, ten unique cross-sectional profiles are proposed. Additionally, the variation of cross-section along the member is also investigated in order to identify correlation between 2D and 3D topology optimisation results. Conclusions attempt to highlight the advantageous characteristics of aluminium use as well as the potential benefits to the more widespread implementation of topology optimization within the utilization of aluminium in civil/structural engineering.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Aluminium structural members, novel cross-section design, structural topology optimisation, SIMP technique
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
Text - Accepted Version
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