Higher-order multi-resolution topology optimization using the finite cell method

Jeroen P. Groen*, Matthijs Langelaar, O Sigmund, Martin Ruess

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)
169 Downloads (Pure)


This article presents a detailed study on the potential and limitations of performing higher-order multi-resolution topology optimization with the finite cell method. To circumvent stiffness overestimation in high-contrast topologies, a length-scale is applied on the solution using filter methods. The relations between stiffness overestimation, the analysis system, and the applied length-scale are examined, while a high-resolution topology is maintained. The computational cost associated with nested topology optimization is reduced significantly compared with the use of first-order finite elements. This reduction is caused by exploiting the decoupling of density and analysis mesh, and by condensing the higher-order modes out of the stiffness matrix.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903 - 920
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Finite cell method
  • Higher-order FEM
  • Topology optimization


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