Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 493–512 | Cite as

Stability-ensured topology optimization of boom structures with volume and stress considerations

  • Wenjun Li
  • Qicai Zhou
  • Zhen Jiang
  • Jiadong Deng
  • Wei ChenEmail author


The boom structure is a key component of giant boom cranes, and the stability-ensured topology optimization is critical to its lightweight design. The finite difference method, direct differentiation or adjoint method needs many time-consuming nonlinear analyses for this problem with a large number of design variables and constraints, and the last two methods are difficult to implement in off-the-shelf softwares. To overcome these challenges, this work first defines a global stability index to measure the global stability of the whole structure, and a compression member stability index to identify the buckling of compression members. Numerical and experimental verifications of these two stability indices are conducted by analyzing a simple three-dimensional frame. Next, the anti-buckling mechanism of boom structures is analyzed to develop the precedence order of freezing relative web members. The stability indices and the freezing measure are then utilized as a part of a novel Stability-Ensured Soft Kill Option (SSKO) algorithm, built upon the existing Soft Kill Option (SKO) method. The objective is to minimize the discrepancy between structural volume and predetermined target volume, while the global stability and stress are regarded as constraints. Lastly, the SSKO algorithm with different scenarios is applied to topology optimization problems of four-section frames and a ring crane boom; in both cases the consistent and stable topologies exhibit applicability of the proposed algorithm.


Boom structures Topology optimization Stability index Stability-ensured soft kill option Geometric nonlinearity 



Funding for this research was provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) under award number 51375345. Financial support for the first author, Wenjun Li, was provided in part by the China Scholarship Council. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wenjun Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qicai Zhou
    • 1
  • Zhen Jiang
    • 2
  • Jiadong Deng
    • 2
  • Wei Chen
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Mechanical EngineeringTongji University, ShanghaiShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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