Simultaneous optimization of topology and layout of modular stiffeners on shells and plates

Coen Bakker*, Lidan Zhang, Kristie Higginson, Fred van Keulen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Stiffened shells and plates are widely used in engineering. Their performance is highly influenced by the arrangement, or layout, of stiffeners on the base shell or plate and the geometric features, or topology, of these stiffeners. Moreover, modular design is beneficial, since it allows for increased quality control and mass production. In this work, a method is developed that simultaneously optimizes the topology of stiffeners and their layout on a base shell or plate. This is accomplished by introducing a fixed number of modular stiffeners, which are subject to density-based topology optimization and a mapping of these modules to a ground structure. To illustrate potential applications, several stiffened plates and shell examples are presented. All examples demonstrated that the proposed method is able to generate clear topologies for any number of modules and a distinct layout of the stiffeners on the base shell or plate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3147-3161
JournalStructural and Multidisciplinary Optimization
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Ground structure
  • Modular design
  • Stiffener layout
  • Stiffener topology
  • Topology optimization


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