Optimal structural topologies with transmissible loads
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In optimal topological design of structures one obtains the configuration of optimal structures when the design domain, the displacement boundary conditions and the applied loads are specified. In the optimal structure one often notices a marked difference between the main bearing structure and the load transfer zones. The latter are composed of relatively light elements the exact nature of which is not always very distinct. The main purpose of this paper is to allow the main bearing part of the structure to emerge. Moreover the actual location of the load along its line of action is not always a design requirement. In order to include this relaxed condition regarding the loading position the concept of transmissible or sliding forces is introduced in topological design of structures. A transmissible force is a force of given magnitude and direction which can be applied at any point along the line of action of the force. The optimization formulation is similar to standard topological design procedure in addition to the condition of transmissability of the forces. It is shown that this condition reduces to an equal displacement constraint along the line of action of the forces. The method is illustrated by typical structural examples. It is observed that this numerical method produces indeed crisp images of the main structural components, unblurred by the secondary load transfer elements. It is also indicated that many results are often replicas of Prager structures which were previously obtained by analytical methods.
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