Matt Tomlin, Leeds University on behalf of EADS IW
Topology Optimisation of an Additive Layer Manufactured (ALM) Aerospace Part
Additive Layer Manufacture (ALM) enables increased design freedom compared to more traditional manufacturing technologies. The cost of parts manufactured with ALM is driven by the volume of the part rather than its complexity. To take advantage of this 'complexity-independence' a part was topology optimised to decrease the part weight. The part chosen was a fan cowl door hinge bracket, one of 16 such brackets on each aircraft. HyperMesh and OptiStruct were used in the topology and shape optimisation stages, with CATIA being used to interpret the optimisation results. Over 65% of the weight was saved. Roughly half of this saving came from changing from Steel to Titanium alloy. Testing of the part to validate the optimised design is planned for early 2011. The project highlighted the potential weight savings that can be made on small-scale structural aerospace parts through the use of optimisation tools when enabled by the geometric design freedom of ALM processes. This study was performed by EADS Innovation Works as part of the TSB funded collaborative AVLAM project, in partnership with Bombardier Aerospace, Materialise, and TWI.