Structural optimization can be interpreted as the attempt to find the best mechanical structure to support specific load cases respecting some possible constraints. Within this context, topology optimization aims to obtain the connectivity, shape and location of voids inside a prescribed structural design domain. The methods for the design of stiff lightweight structures are well established and can already be used in a specific range of industries where such structures are important, e.g., in aerospace and automobile industries.

In this seminar, we will go through the basic engineering concepts used to quantify and analyze the computational models of mechanical structures. After presenting the motivation, the methods and mathematical tools used in structural topology optimization will be discussed. In our method, an implicit level set function is used to describe the structural boundaries. The optimization problem is approximated by linearization of the objective and constraint equations via Taylor’s expansion. Shape sensitivities are used to evaluate the change in the structural performance due to a shape movement and to feed the mathematical optimiser in an iterative procedure. Recent developments comprising multiscale and Multiphysics problems will be presented and a specific application proposal including acoustic-structure interaction will be discussed.