Topology optimisation of manufacturable microstructural details without length scale separation using a spectral coarse basis preconditioner

Joe Alexandersen, Boyan S. Lazarov

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper applies topology optimisation to the design of structures with periodic and layered microstructural details without length scale separation, i.e. considering the complete macroscopic structure and its response, while resolving all microstructural details, as compared to the often used homogenisation approach. The approach takes boundary conditions into account and ensures connected and macroscopically optimised microstructures regardless of the difference in micro- and macroscopic length scales. This results in microstructures tailored for specific applications rather than specific properties. Manufacturability is further ensured by the use of robust topology optimisation.Dealing with the complete macroscopic structure and its response is computationally challenging as very fine discretisations are needed in order to resolve all microstructural details. Therefore, this paper shows the benefits of applying a contrast-independent spectral preconditioner based on the multiscale finite element method (MsFEM) to large structures with fully-resolved microstructural details. It is shown that a single preconditioner can be reused for many design iterations and used for several design realisations, in turn leading to massive savings in computational cost.The density-based topology optimisation approach combined with a Heaviside projection filter and a stochastic robust formulation is used on various problems, with both periodic and layered microstructures. The presented approach is shown to allow for the topology optimisation of very large problems in Matlab, specifically a problem with 26 million displacement degrees of freedom in 26 hours using a single computational thread.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)156-182
    Number of pages27
    JournalComputer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2015


    • Manufacturability
    • Microstructure
    • Multiscale design
    • Multiscale FEM
    • Spectral preconditioner
    • Topology optimisation


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