As an engineer you can understand that there can be a multitude of solutions when creating machined or casted metal parts. One of the most difficult part of engineering these parts would be to start with a shape that not only looks good but can also serve to provide the most rigidity and least weight. Topology studies can show you the best shape to start with! Let’s work with this single body bridge, that is simply supported.
Before you we get into that lets understand the limitations of what a static study can give you, when it comes to “shape”. There are a couple of plots that one can think of that will provide insight into where the loading is minimum/maximum. First off the Design Insight plot will give you an understanding where the loading will propagate from, thereby showing you where you can start removing material. However, as you can see doesn’t help you understand the best shape to start with.
You can also look into the design with the stress plot and get the same information.
Now with topology studies you’re introducing more boundary conditions. Such as: what geometry is important, what parameter is important to the design (mass, strength, displacement), how will it be manufactured, etc.
Of course when analyzing using this type of study one must know what SOLIDWORKS is giving you as a result and how it got there. Topology studies do not run a true static analysis so the data you get is a rough estimate of what the stresses, displacements, and strains are. It does give you an optimized shape through three different goals and constraints that use different algorithms. Each of these goals and constraints output a Material Mass plot that show you elements that have a large or small mass density. Each element has a load carrying capacity and a value from 0-1 is applied to them. Any element with a density of .3 or less does not carry any loads and can be deleted. Elements with a .7 carry a sizable load and should be kept in the model.
With this type of plot we can now start our design iterations with a more complex and optimized shape.
Computer Aided Technology