Additive Manufacturing is an emerging technology that is increasingly being integrated into industry for prototyping, tool production, and final product manufacturing. By adding material layer by layer, the technology has enormous potential in building complex shapes. While an excellent tool for many steps in the product design and manufacturing process, its full potential is mostly not being used since many designers still hold on to traditional design concepts.
By using Topology Optimization, a method to optimize material distribution, designers and engineers can take existing and new products and redesign them to be lighter and material-efficient with more organic shapes. These designs, though not typically manufacturable through conventional means, are possible through Additive Manufacturing. The objective of this study is to demonstrate the advantage of using optimization tools to enhance design for Additive Manufacturing. The bracket from the GE Jet Engine Bracket Challenge was chosen for optimization in solidThinking Inspire. This bracket is typical for a jet engine bracket and ideal for optimization because it has documented loading conditions. Furthermore, it is overly bulky, which makes it a perfect case study for reducing its weight.
Using Topology Optimization software, the bracket was redesigned using the results of multiple optimization trials to reduce the weight of the bracket. The bracket design was then prepared for manufacturing using a Markforged series printer in the material Onyx reinforced with carbon fiber. From the results of the optimization, it was observed that the optimized shape of the bracket tends to take a concave shape. This tendency didn’t change, although the optimization inputs were varied, volume was increased, or material properties were altered. This outcome demonstrated that the optimal shape of the bracket is strongly tied to the optimal flow of forces instead of other factors. The Finite Element Analysis further showed that the optimized shape exceeds the initial constraint of a safety factor of 3. The optimized bracket proved to be an adequate substitute for the original bracket.
|Commitee:||Whisler, Daniel, Schmitz, Adeline|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|Department:||Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 82/3(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Mechanical engineering, Information Technology|
|Keywords:||Additive manufacturing, Jet engine bracket, Topology optimization|
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