This paper deals with topology optimization of static geometrically nonlinear structures experiencing snap-through behaviour. Different compliance and buckling criterion functions are studied and applied for topology optimization of a point loaded curved beam problem with the aim of maximizing the snap-through buckling load. The response of the optimized structures obtained using the considered objective functions are evaluated and compared. Due to the intrinsic nonlinear nature of the problem, the load level at which the objective function is evaluated has a tremendous effect on the resulting optimized design. A well-known issue in buckling topology optimization is artificial buckling modes in low density regions. The typical remedy applied for linear buckling does not have a natural extension to nonlinear problems, and we propose an alternative approach. Some possible negative implications of using symmetry to reduce the model size are highlighted and it is demonstrated how an initial symmetric buckling response may change to an asymmetric buckling response during the optimization process. This problem may partly be avoided by not exploiting symmetry, however special requirements are needed of the analysis method and optimization formulation. We apply a nonlinear path tracing algorithm capable of detecting different types of stability points and an optimization formulation that handles possible mode switching. This is an extension into the topology optimization realm of a method developed, and used for, fiber angle optimization in laminated composite structures. We finally discuss and pinpoint some of the issues related to buckling topology optimization that remains unsolved and demands further research.
Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization, 2013, Vol 47, Issue 3, p. 409-421