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What is topology optimization?

Topology optimization is a structural design optimization technique for distributing material efficiently across the design domain by changing the topology of the design for a given set of loading and boundary conditions such that, the resulting design has better performance targets in terms of improved stiffness, and reduced mass.

Even though it is considered to be more complex compared to shape and sizing optimization techniques, topology optimization has become an integral part of product design and development process. A topologically optimized structure is intended to demonstrate better or at least similar structural performance relative to its baseline design at reduced mass. Therefore, it has major applications in aircraft, automotive and other structural design industries were mass of the structure is critical in its design.
In topology optimization, the overall topology of the structure is varied by removing unwanted material from the structure such that the final design is lighter without compromising the performance characteristics.