, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 207-227

Multiple eigenvalues in structural optimization problems

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This paper discusses characteristic features and inherent difficulties pertaining to the lack of usual differentiability properties in problems of sensitivity analysis and optimum structural design with respect to multiple eigenvalues. Computational aspects are illustrated via a number of examples.

Based on a mathematical perturbation technique, a general multiparameter framework is developed for computation of design sensitivities of simple as well as multiple eigenvalues of complex structures. The method is exemplified by computation of changes of simple and multiple natural transverse vibration frequencies subject to changes of different design parameters of finite element modelled, stiffener reinforced thin elastic plates.

Problems of optimization are formulated as the maximization of the smallest (simple or multiple) eigenvalue subject to a global constraint of e.g. given total volume of material of the structure, and necessary optimality conditions are derived for an arbitrary degree of multiplicity of the smallest eigenvalue. The necessary optimality conditions express (i) linear dependence of a set of generalized gradient vectors of the multiple eigenvalue and the gradient vector of the constraint, and (ii) positive semi-definiteness of a matrix of the coefficients of the linear combination.

It is shown in the paper that the optimality condition (i) can be directly applied for the development of an efficient, iterative numerical method for the optimization of structural eigenvalues of arbitrary multiplicity, and that the satisfaction of the necessary optimality condition (ii) can be readily checked when the method has converged. Application of the method is illustrated by simple, multiparameter examples of optimizing single and bimodal buckling loads of columns on elastic foundations.

Dedicated to the memory of Ernest F. Masur
Guest professor during the period 16 November to 11 December, 1992 and 15 November to 12 December, 1993.