Low-carbon design of structural components by integrating material and structural optimization

  • Cheng Zhang
  • Hai-hong Huang
  • Lei Zhang
  • Hong Bao
  • Zhi-feng Liu


Mechanical parts, especially large mechanical structures, consume a lot of resources and energy in manufacturing stage and produce large amounts of carbon emissions. To reduce the carbon emissions of mechanical parts from the perspective of manufacturing system, an approach integrating structural optimization and material selection is studied. A hybrid optimization model for low-carbon design of mechanical parts is established. The objective function of the model is built by quantifying the carbon emissions of mechanical parts. To improve the efficiency of carbon emissions analysis, a new concept “variable carbon emission” is proposed to identify part of carbon emissions, the amount of which will change with design variables. In this paper, variable carbon emissions of mechanical parts are quantified and parameterized by the relevant parameters of design variables. Two types of design variables (material variable and structural variable) are included in the model. The qualitative constraints and quantitative constraints for the low-carbon design optimization are both taken into consideration. Furthermore, an integrated numerical solving method is used to search for the optimal design scheme considering the coupling among material and structural parameters in low-carbon design. It foresees the synergic use of finite element model (FEM) and several numerical solution algorithms. The low-carbon design of a hydraulic slider is given as an example to demonstrate the approach. The results show that the approach has good potential to be applied in the low-carbon design of mechanical parts even with complex structural features.


Low-carbon design Variable carbon emissions Structural optimization Material selection Hydraulic slider 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


Funding information

This work is financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51575152, 51722502).


  1. 1.
    US Energy Information Administration (2017) US Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 2016. Accessed 5 October 2017
  2. 2.
    US Energy Information Administration (2017) US energy flow, 2016.
  3. 3.
    International Organization for Standardization (2006) ISO 14064- 1:2006 Greenhouse gases – Part 1: Specification with guidance at the organization level for quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals. Accessed 31 March 2006
  4. 4.
    BSI (2011) PAS 2050:2011 Specification for the assessment of the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of goods and services. British Standards Institution, London. ISBN 978-0-580-71382-8Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    International Organization for Standardization (2013) ISO/TS 14067:2013 Greenhouse gases – Carbon footprint of products – Requirements and guidelines for quantification and communication. Accessed 31 May 2013
  6. 6.
    He B, Wang J, Huang S, Wang Y (2015) Low-carbon product design for product life cycle. J Eng Des 26(10–12):321–339. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ma JF, Kremer GEO (2016) A systematic literature review of modular product design (MPD) from the perspective of sustainability. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 86 (5–8):1509–1539. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    He B, Tang W, Huang S, Hou SC, Cai HX (2016) Towards low-carbon product architecture using structural optimization for lightweight. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 83(5–8):1419–1429. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bereketli I, Genevois ME (2013) An integrated QFDE approach for identifying improvement strategies in sustainable product development. J Clean Prod 54:188–198. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    International Organization for Standardization (2006) ISO 14040:2006 Environmental management – Life cycle assessment – Principle and framework. Accessed 31 July 2006
  11. 11.
    International Organization for Standardization (2006) ISO 14044:2006 Environmental management – Life cycle assessment – Requirements and guidelines. Accessed 31 July 2006
  12. 12.
    He B, Tang W, Wang J, Huang S, Deng ZQ, Wang Y (2015) Low-carbon conceptual design based on product life cycle assessment. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 81(5–8):863–874. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Zhang L, Huang H, Hu D, Li BB, Zhang C (2016) Greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions analysis of manufacturing of the hydraulic press slider within forging machine in China. J Clean Prod 113:565–576. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Jeswiet J, Kara S (2008) Carbon emissions and CESTM in manufacturing. CIRP Ann Manuf Technol 57 (1):17–20. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Branker K, Jeswiet J, Kim IY (2011) Greenhouse gases emitted in manufacturing a product—A new economic model. CIRP Ann Manuf Technol 60(1):53–56. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Joyce T, Okrasinski TA, Schaeffer W (2010) Estimating the carbon footprint of telecommunications products: a heuristic approach. J Mech Design 132(9):94502. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Zhang XF, Zhang SY, Hu ZY, Yu G, Pei CH, Sa RN (2012) Identification of connection units with high GHG emissions for low-carbon product structure design. J Clean Prod 27:118–125. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lu Q, Zhou G, Xiao Z, Chang F, Tian C (2017) A selection methodology of key parts based on the characteristic of carbon emissions for low-carbon design. Int J Adv Manuf Technol.
  19. 19.
    Russo D, Rizzi C (2014) Structural optimization strategies to design green products. Comput Ind 65 (3):470–479. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Huang H, Zhang L, Liu Z, Sutherland JW (2011) Multi-criteria decision making and uncertainty analysis for materials selection in environmentally conscious design. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 52(5–8):421–432. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Giudice F, Rosa GL, Risitano A (2005) Materials selection in the Life-Cycle Design process: a method to integrate mechanical and environmental performances in optimal choice. Mater Des 26(1):9–20. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Qiu LM, Sun LF, Liu XJ, Zhang SY (2013) Material selection combined with optimal structural design for mechanical parts. J Zhejiang UNIV-SC A 14(6):383–392. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Xu Z, Wang Y, Teng Z, Zhong C, Teng H (2015) Low-carbon product multi-objective optimization design for meeting requirements of enterprise, user and government. J Clean Prod 103:747–758. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Chiang TA, Che ZH (2015) A decision-making methodology for low-carbon electronic product design. Decis Support Syst 71:1–13. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Song JS, Lee KM (2010) Development of a low-carbon product design system based on embedded GHG emissions. Resour Conserv Recycl 54(9):547–556. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Bocken NMP, Allwood JM, Willey AR, King JMH (2011) Development of an eco-ideation tool to identify stepwise greenhouse gas emissions reduction options for consumer goods. J Clean Prod 19(12):1279–1287. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Su JCP, Chu CH, Wang YT (2012) A decision support system to estimate the carbon emission and cost of product designs. Int J Precis Eng Manuf 13(7):1037–1045. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Kuo TC (2013) The construction of a collaborative framework in support of low carbon product design. Robot Cim-Int Manuf 29(4):174–183. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    British Standards Institution (2011) Guide to PAS 2050-How to assess the carbon footprint of goods and services.
  30. 30.
    ANSYS Inc. Adaptive Single-Objective Optimization (ASO). Accessed 15 June 2017
  31. 31.
    Zhou XY, Chen LP, Huang ZD (2007) The SIMP-SRV method for stiffness topology optimization of continuum structures. Int J CAD/CAM 7(1):66–80Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Huang H, Liu Z, Zhang L, Sutherland JW (2009) Materials selection for environmentally conscious design via a proposed life cycle environmental performance index. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 44(11–12):1073–1082. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cheng Zhang
    • 1
  • Hai-hong Huang
    • 1
  • Lei Zhang
    • 1
  • Hong Bao
    • 1
  • Zhi-feng Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Mechnical EngineeringHefei University of TechnologyHefeiChina

Personalised recommendations