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Journal of Optimization
Volume 2015, Article ID 345120, 14 pages
Research Article

A Structural Optimization Framework for Multidisciplinary Design

Department of Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, Altoona, PA 16601, USA

Received 29 September 2014; Revised 23 December 2014; Accepted 6 January 2015

Academic Editor: Qingsong Xu

Copyright © 2015 Mohammad Kurdi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This work describes the development of a structural optimization framework adept at accommodating diverse customer requirements. The purpose is to provide a framework accessible to the optimization research analyst. The framework integrates the method of moving asymptotes into the finite element analysis program (FEAP) by exploiting the direct interface capability in FEAP. Analytic sensitivities are incorporated to provide a robust and efficient optimization search. User macros are developed to interface the design algorithm and analytic sensitivity with the finite element analysis program. To test the optimization tool and sensitivity calculations, three sizing and one topology optimization problems are considered. In addition, flutter analysis of a heated panel is analyzed as an example of coupling to nonstructural discipline. In sizing optimization, the calculated semianalytic sensitivities match analytic and finite difference calculations. Differences between analytic designs and numerical ones are less than 2.0% and are attributed to discrete nature of finite elements. In the topology problem, quadratic elements are found robust at resolving checkerboard patterns.