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By now, most users know that topology optimization is a powerful design method that involves finding the optimal layout of a structure to meet a set of performance objectives. It is becoming popular in a wide range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, and consumer products, as it allows engineers and designers to create lightweight, efficient, and reliable structures. As demand for lighter and more fuel-efficient products continues to grow, the ability to optimize structures for weight reduction will become increasingly more important. 

The term Generative Design has been commonly linked with Topology Optimization.  We provide a resource that discusses the difference between the two approaches, but in this article, we will focus on topology optimization. Altair prides itself on providing the best-in-class tools for lightweighting applications. In this post, we will explore some of the different industry-leading tools available and what else they provide.

Altair Inspire

Altair Inspire is a powerful design tool that includes a range of topology optimization capabilities, using the OptiStruct solver (which we will talk about below). It allows users to define their design objectives and constraints, and then uses advanced algorithms to find the optimal layout of the structure. In addition to lightweighting capabilities, users can use Inspire to create parametric CAD models, simulate dynamic motion, and perform linear static simulations to understand yield, stress, and displacement. Inspire is ideal for design-level analysis and for users that don’t require advanced simulations.  The video below walks through how to get started with Altair Inspire.

Altair HyperWorks/OptiStruct

Altair HyperWorks is a comprehensive suite of simulation tools that includes a topology optimization module, as well as other types of optimization. Altair OptiStruct is the tool within the HyperWorks environment that users would look to for structural optimization. It allows users to define their design objectives, constraints, and loads, and then uses advanced algorithms to find the optimal layout of the structure.

With Altair HyperWorks’ ability to couple with cross discipline tools, users can optimize their designs for not just structural applications but also incorporate variables for scenarios that include fluid mechanics, electromagnetic interference, and electrical conductivity.

Because HyperWorks is the environment that OptiStruct works within, it also gives users access to additional simulation capabilities at no additional cost.  Other tools that users can explore are Altair HyperMesh for industry-leading preprocessing capabilities; Altair Radioss as an explicit simulation solver and Altair CFD for fluid mechanics. 

The video below is a webinar that walks through topology optimization as well as other different types of optimization that can be performed using OptiStruct.

Altair SimLab

Altair SimLab is one of those tools that makes it easy for engineers to set up and run topology optimization studies, even if they're new to the process. The user-friendly interface allows users to set up their topology study using a simple wizard, so no advanced training is needed.  SimLab also allows users to run multiple types of optimization studies like density-based, stiffness-based and shape-based optimization.

 Simlab is also one of the most versatile products in the Altair portfolio in that it also allows users to run multiphysics studies from structural, fluid and electromagnetics. The video below show how to set up a Fatigue Optimization study in Altair SimLab.

So, regardless of your application, Altair can provide a powerful solution for users who already incorporate, or are looking to incorporate, lightweighting and optimization into their workflow.  If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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