Published in Int. Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering Vol. 87 (11), pp. 1105-1126, 2011
This work analyzes the influence of the discretization error associated with the finite element (FE) analyses of each design configuration proposed by the structural shape optimization algorithms over the behavior of the algorithm. The paper clearly shows that if FE analyses are not accurate enough, the final solution provided by the optimization algorithm will neither be optimal nor satisfy the constraints. The need for the use of adaptive FE analysis techniques in shape optimum design will be shown. The paper proposes the combination of two strategies to reduce the computational cost related to the use of mesh adaptivity in evolutionary optimization algorithms: (a) the use of an algorithm for the mesh generation by projection of the discretization error, which reduces the computational cost associated with the adaptive FE analysis of each geometrical configuration and (b) the successive increase of the required accuracy of the FE analyses in order to obtain a considerable reduction of the computational cost in the early stages of the optimization process.
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