VOLUME 1, ISSUE 3, 2017
Engineering a Highly Applicable Base Isolating Structural Layer Using Topology Optimization and Additive Manufacturing
Authors: Daniel Kim
Published: May 28, 2017
Current instances of basic and small-scale infrastructure are widely vulnerable to damage from unstable grounds and natural disasters. Unlike many large buildings, structures such as sidewalks and small homes lack any form of base isolation that would reduce the amount of damage they sustain under harsh conditions such as earthquakes, or in common situations such as expanding tree roots and unstable soil conditions. One solution is to develop a design for a simple and easily manufacturable layer of supportive material using topology optimization based on Solid Isotropic Material with Penalization (SIMP). Topology optimization software uses several inputted boundaries, conditions, and parameters, including material properties, maximum area fraction (volume constraint), and penalization factor, and uses them to determine the optimum design for the given problem. Using a computer program called Comsol MultiphysicsR, an optimal two dimensional unit design under constant forces that could be scaled, extruded and multiplied to create a flat layer structure that could properly isolate small scale superstructure from unstable grounds was investigated. Our intention was to develop a design for a form of base isolation that could be easily-applied to a variety of different situations, adjusted to each one, and utilize either prevalent or contemporary methods of manufacturing such as additive manufacturing to create. The model’s maximum area fraction was adjusted and analyzed in order to determine the most efficient use of material, and most optimal design. While a basic structure is generated, further studies are necessary to determine the better use of materials type and size as well as improve upon the design and manufacturing process. The application of this technology would lead to greater structural stability in small-scale infrastructure, reduce the need for maintenance, lower costs, and provide safer environments for people to travel and live in.
Keywords: Topology optimization; Additive manufacturing; 3-D printing; Small scale infrastructure; Base isolation; Solid isotropic materials with penalization (SIMP).