Publication | Computer-Aided Design 2022

BeNTO: Beam Network Topology Optimization

Footbridge designs with standard generative design (left) and with beam optimization (right)

This paper presents a new method for generative design, democratizing the creation of beam and frame structures that can be affordably constructed from bolted or welded extrusions.

Read more in the blog post New Research Brings Beam Structures to Generative Design.

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Abstract

BeNTO: Beam Network Topology Optimization

Nigel J. W. Morris, Pradeep Kumar Jayaraman, Adrian Butscher

Computer-Aided Design 2022

We present an optimization framework that allows designers and engineers to develop conceptual designs for structures that can be manufactured using a network of connected beams. We leverage level set-based topology optimization along with a graph representation extracted from the skeleton of the level set. This graph is used to create an idealized beam network of the structure and the level set and the beam networks co-evolve during the course of the optimization. We propose a constraint that moves the level set geometry closer to this beam network and ultimately drives the two representations to converge. The graph representation also enables us to enforce manufacturability in the beam network, including minimum and maximum cross-section size, angle snapping and cross-section continuity. By applying the beam constraint during topology optimization we are able to generate designs that satisfy the structural requirements and can also be fabricated as beam networks.

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