Dec 08, 2023  
2021-2022 Graduate Academic Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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AE 6264 - Structural Systems and Optimization

3 lecture hours 0 lab hours 3 credits
Course Description
Structural optimization has been attracting increasing interest in the building industry, especially in the design of high-­rise buildings and long span structures. Designs based on an optimal material distribution for the structural system are not only efficient, lightweight and minimize the embedded carbon, but are also often aesthetically pleasant from an architectural point of view. Engineers can employ several optimization tools for the conceptual development of innovative structural/architectural topologies. The objective of this class is to provide an overview of the optimization techniques currently used in the civil engineering industry for form finding and dimensioning of a variety of structural systems. (prereq: AE 6210  or CV 6210 )
Course Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  • Analyze structures with graphical methods
  • Design structures with energy methods
  • Optimize structural designs

Prerequisites by Topic
  • Matrix structural analysis

Course Topics
  • Graphical methods for optimal layout of truss systems
  • Introduction to graphical methods and reciprocal diagrams
  • Optimization using forces as objective, Lenticular trusses
  • Optimization using the minimum load path approach, dual structures
  • Rankine’s theorem, 3D reciprocal diagrams
  • Maxwell’s theorem for frame structures and its application in design
  • Proof of the theorem, application to frame structures, design examples
  • Michell frames
  • Proof of Michell’s criterion, derivation of Michell’s frames, applications to structural design
  • Principal stress trajectories and force flow (intuitive aspects, calculation of principal directions from the stress tensor, Mohr’s circle, application to high-­rise buildings, application of principal directions in design)
  • Sizing techniques for frames using energy methods (derivation of sizing equations for braced frames and moment frames, application to design problems)
  • Structural systems for high­-rise and long­span structures (typical lateral and gravity systems used in design and their parametric description for structural optimization)
  • Topology optimization for structural design (fundamentals, derivation of sensitivities, 99­line MATLAB code, Voronoi meshing, applications in design, manufacturing constraints)
  • Form finding of cablenets (linear and non­linear force density methods, applications to design problems)
  • Advanced topics on optimal frames layouts (geometrical rules, bound/unbound cantilever problem, optimal arch) as time permits

Dr. Christopher Raebel

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