Published in Computing Systems in Engineering Vol. 5 (1), pp. 91-102, 1994
This work presents a methodology based on the use of adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) techniques in the context of shape optimization problems analyzed by the Finite Element Method (FEM). A suitable and very general technique for the parametrization of the optimization problem using B-splines to define the boundary is first presented. Then, mesh generation using the advancing front method, the error estimation and the mesh refinement criteria are dealt with in the context of a shape optimization problems. In particular, the sensitivities of the different ingredients ruling the problem (B-splines, finite element mesh, design behaviour, and error estimator) are studied in detail. The sensitivities of the finite element mesh coordinates and the error estimator allow their projection from one design to the next, giving an “a priori knowledge” of the error distribution on the new design. This allows to build up a finite element mesh for the new design with a specified and controlled level of error. The robustness and reliability of the proposed methodology is checked out with some 2D examples.