Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 199–214 | Cite as

Topology optimization of frame structures with flexible joints

  • H. Fredricson
  • T. Johansen
  • A. Klarbring
  • J. Petersson
Research paper


A method for structural topology optimization of frame structures with flexible joints is presented. A typical frame structure is a set of beams and joints assembled to carry an applied load. The problem considered in this paper is to find the stiffest frame for a given mass. By introducing design variables for beams and joints, a mass distribution for optimal structural stiffness can be found. Each beam can have several design variables connected to its cross section. One of these is an area-type design variable which is used to represent the global size of the beam. The other design variables are of length ratio type, controlling the cross section of the beam. Joints are flexible elements connecting the beams in the structure. Each joint has stiffness properties and a mass. A framework for modelling these stiffnesses is presented and design variables for joints are introduced. We prove a theorem which can be interpreted as the fact that the removal of structural elements, e.g. joints or beams, can be modelled by a small strictly positive material amount assigned to the element. This is needed for the computations of sensitivities used in the applied gradient based iterative method. Both two and three dimensional problems, as well as multiple load cases and multiple mass constraints, are treated.


topology optimization frame structures joint modelling flexible joints 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Fredricson
    • 1
  • T. Johansen
    • 2
  • A. Klarbring
    • 3
  • J. Petersson
    • 3
  1. 1.Volvo Car Corp.GöteborgSweden
  2. 2.Volvo Technology Corp.GöteborgSweden
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical EngineeringLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden

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