Continuous front propagation-based overhang control for topology optimization with additive manufacturing

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Additive manufacturing enables the nearly uncompromised production of optimized topologies. However, due to the overhang limitation, some designs require a large number of supporting structures to enable manufacturing. Because these supports are costly to build and difficult to remove, it is desirable to find alternative designs that do not require support. In this work, a filter is presented that suppresses non-manufacturable regions within the topology optimization loop, resulting in designs that can be manufactured without the need for supports. The filter is based on front propagation, can be evaluated efficiently, and adjoint sensitivities are calculated with almost no additional computational cost. The filter can be applied also to unstructured meshes and the permissible degree of overhang can be freely chosen. The method is demonstrated on several compliance minimization problems in which its computational efficiency and flexibility are shown. The current applications are in 2D, and the proposed method is readily extensible to 3D.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2075-2091
JournalStructural and Multidisciplinary Optimization
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Front propagation
  • Overhang
  • Topology optimization

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