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on genetic algorithms and geometric modeling

W. Annicchiarico, M. Cerrolaza*

Bioengineering Center, Faculty of Engineering, Central University of Venezuela, P.O. Box 50.361,

Caracas 1050-A, Venezuela

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to present and discuss the used of genetic algorithms and geometric modeling by

means of -splines surface representation in order to solve tri-dimensional shape optimization problems.

Genetic algorithms have demonstrated to be a very robust search tool that models the evolution in arti"cial

creatures. On the other hand, -spline surface representation allows a very simple description on a high level

of abstraction, and it is well suited to capture interactive in#uence. Other advantages are the validity of the

shape description for large changes and the possibility of to generate optimal meshes. Finally, a numerical

example is presented and discussed in order to show the great applicability of the developed tool. 2001

Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

Shape optimization problems constitute an important type of problem with varying domains.

Research into this "eld of unknown or varying domain problems with their inherent non-linear

character is ever increasing. The growing interest in shape design re#ects a realization of the

e!ectiveness of shape changes for improving structural performance. It also re#ects a growing

sophistication of structural analysis and optimization tools, which permit tackling the more

di$cult problems of shape optimization.

The goal of shape optimization is to "nd the best boundary shape of an elastic medium to

minimize some property of that medium. In this case the design variables represent the shape of the

E-mail addresses: annwill@sagi.ucv.edu.ve (W. Annicchiarico), mcerrola@reacciun.ve (M. Cerrolaza).

0168-874X/01/$ - see front matter 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

PII: S 0 1 6 8 - 8 7 4 X ( 0 0 ) 0 0 0 4 1 - X

404 W. Annicchiarico, M. Cerrolaza / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 37 (2001) 403}415

body and they are restricted to some constraints like stresses or displacements. The object of the

search is to minimize the weight of the body, or to maximize its sti!ness or to remove stress

concentrations.

The main di$culties encountered in shape optimization are [1]; the continuously changing of

"nite-element model, since it is di$cult to ensure that the accuracy of the "nite-element analysis

remains adequate throughout the design process, and the expense involves in to obtain good

sensitivity derivatives with respect to shape design variables than with respect other variables (e.g.

sizing variables).

The optimization problem can be e$ciently solved by using good approximation methods as

well as exact sensitivity analysis. A good selection of these techniques are also useful to reduce the

iterations of the structural analysis and its sensitivity analysis. In this sense, several authors have

used Taylor series approximation to build approximate sub-problems for the actual design

problem, such as Schmit and Miure [2], who originally suggested the use of reciprocal variables to

form a wide range approximation for the frameworks. Since then, this method has yielded good

results for plates and shells. Other authors [3,4] have shown that a hybrid constraint approach

using mixed variables yields a more conservative approximation. Vanderplaats and Salajegheh [5]

have suggested, for the stress constraints, to use Taylor series to approximate the internal loads

instead of the stresses themselves.

These approximation concepts have been applied to the three-dimensional shape optimization

problem using the "nite-element method by Yang and Botkin [6] and Kodiyalan and Vander-

plaats [7]. They also show the possibility for automating the structural design process by

determining the shape of complicated three-dimensional components. Moreover, these authors

show how the use of better approximation techniques to obtain the stresses in three-dimensional

solid elements resulted in a relevant improved convergence characteristics.

Others approaches are stochastic zero-order method and deterministic-gradient based method.

The "rst are based on evolutionary algorithms such as genetic algorithms or simulated annealing

(see for example [8}10]). In these methods the design sensitivity analysis is avoided by the nature of

the optimization method.

On the other hand, the gradient-based approaches associated with the "nite-element method can

be classi"ed in the discrete method (see for example [11,12]) and the continuum approach (see

[13,14]). In the discrete approach, the discretized "nite element equations are directly di!erenti-

ated. In the continuum approach, the variational equilibrium equations are di!erentiated and

discretized.

As mentioned previously, the corner-stone factors in three-dimensional shape optimization are

the model representation, where the geometry is evolving from an initial state to an optimized one

and the technique used to associate design variables with mesh data.

Initially, three-dimensional shape optimization was performed associating design variables

directly with grid points on an existing mesh, resulting in an error-prone process for real

application. Later, authors such as Yang [15] have developed shape optimization capabilities by

associating parameters with a mesh created manually. But others (see for example [16]) have

associated parameters with control points of a mapped mesh generator.

Recently, several authors [17,18] have found that using geometry as a basis vs. directly using the

"nite-element data, for formulating and controlling this type of problem leads to generic robust

procedures to carry out structural shape optimization. These methods are based on constructive

W. Annicchiarico, M. Cerrolaza / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 37 (2001) 403}415 405

solid geometry (CSG) or solid modeling. Some of its advantages are that they are an integral part of

CAD systems and the design variables are the solid model dimensions. The solid modeling method

also facilitates the de"nition of the "nite-element model and the optimization problem through

automatic mesh generation and associatively between the solid and the "nite-element models. This

technique have been applied to three-dimensional shape optimization by Kodiyalan et al. [19] and

Botkin [20] by using a complete di!erence method to calculate the velocity "eld. Chen and

Tortorelli [21], have used variational geometry to obtain the sensitivities and the velocity "eld.

Among the disadvantages [20] of some generic solid modeling approaches are that the solid

models containing the details of the part to be manufactured not only have too many parameters to

be e!ectively optimized, but also the parameters are de"ned in such a way that they are not suitable

to be used as design variables.

The main purpose of this work is to present and discuss a three-dimensional shape optimization

technique based on the concept of design elements (introduced by Imam [22]) and the parameteriz-

ation solid modeling.

In the solid design element approach the structure is divided into a few regions. These regions, or

solid design elements, are described by a set of key nodes (or master nodes) that de"ne geometry

entities of the mesh, e.g. lines, surfaces, volumes, which control its shape. Then, by using an

automatic mesh generator and parametric mapping these geometry entities are mapped to the "nal

"nite-element mesh. So, the shape design variables are a set of parameters used to de"ne the

position of the master nodes and some parametric dimensions of the solid model that were used to

de"ne the design elements.

The moving boundaries of the design elements are described by using -splines surface

representation. This methodology introduces two new shape parameters that control the bias

( ) and the tension ( ) of each curve segment that de"ne the modeling surface. These para-

meters are associated with a clearly physic representation of the nature of the desired

movement.

In previous works [8,9], the authors have shown that the combined technique of genetic

algorithms, FEM representation and -spline modeling provides a powerful tool to optimize

bidimensional models. The results presented herein is an extension of the previous ideas discussed

in these papers to the three-dimensional case.

2. Geometry}based modeling

optimization environment are a geometric modeling system, an automatic mesh generator and the

capability of handling several types of design variables and constraints.

The solid modeling system used herein is based on geometric "nite-element modeling. This type

of modeling is based on three main aspect [19]: problem formulation through geometry, geometry

representation and geometry manipulation.

The formulation of the shape optimization problem by using the geometry is depicted in Fig. 1.

The process begins using solid design elements to de"ne the problem geometry. Then, the mesh

control information is de"ned on the boundary as well as the problem-speci"c attributes, such as

material properties, loads, boundary conditions, etc., are assigned to the model. Once the mesh

406 W. Annicchiarico, M. Cerrolaza / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 37 (2001) 403}415

Fig. 1. Modeling process: geometric entities, mesh parameterization and "nite element mesh.

control data is available, the "nite-element mesh is generated, with the resulting node and element

data associated with the originating geometry.

The geometry representation adopted in this paper is based on solid-design elements.

These elements are like primitives which are de"ned by parametric dimensions and shape

parameters to control its shape. The moving boundaries are de"ned by geometry design

elements such as -splines surfaces, which control the curvature and tangency of the optimized

surface.

Finally, all this data can be manipulated throughout speci"c interface procedures between the

optimization modules and the analysis module implemented in the computational tool.

W. Annicchiarico, M. Cerrolaza / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 37 (2001) 403}415 407

The -spline representation (curves or surfaces) are geometric design elements, which stem from the

well-known B-spline representation. This new formulation de"nes additional parameters that control

the bias ( ) and tension ( ) of each surface patch. The e!ect of these parameters is to change the

parametric continuity between each surface patch while maintaining the geometry continuity.

A -spline surface is de"ned by (but does not interpolate) a set of control vertices, in three-

dimensional x}y}z space, which are organized as two-dimensional graph having rectangular

topology. This set of control vertices is called control graph (see Fig. 2). In order to formalize this

notion, the set of control vertices can be considered as a graph V, E whose vertices form the set

GH

and with the set of edges

E"(< , < ) i"0, 1,2, m; j"0, 1,2, n!1

GH G H>

(< , < , j)i"0, 1,2, m!1; j"0,1,2, n.

GH G>

(2)

The generated surface tends to mimic the overall shape of the control graph, and the manipula-

tion of a control vertex causes a predictable modi"cation in the resulting shape.

The coordinates of a point on the (i, j) -spline surface patch Q (u, v) is a weighted average of the

GH

16 vertices, as can be seen in the following expression:

Q (u, v)" bb ( , ; u, v)< (3)

GH PQ G>PH>Q

P\ Q\

for 04u(1 and 04v(1.

The set of bivariate -spline basis function is the tensor product of the set of univariate basis

function

bb ( , ; u, v)"b ( , ; u)b ( , ; v)

PQ P Q

r"!2, !1, 0, 1 and s"!2, !1, 0, 1. (4)

408 W. Annicchiarico, M. Cerrolaza / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 37 (2001) 403}415

Substituting the above expression into Eq. (3) and arranging the terms, it yields:

Q (u, v)" b ( , ; u) < b ( , ; v) 0)u(1 and 0)v(1. (5)

GH P G>PH>Q Q

P\ Q\

Each basis function (b and b ) is a function of and and the u(v) adimensional variable such

P Q

that it is a cubic polynomial in u (v) whose polynomial coe$cients are themselves functions of

and :

b ( , ; u)" C ( , )uE, 0)u(1, r"!2,!1, 0, 1,

P EP

E

b ( , ; v)" C ( , )vE, 0)v(1, s"!2,!1, 0, 1, (6)

Q EQ

E

where C and C are the coe$cients functions. They can be determining by applying the geometry

EP EQ

continuity constraints to the joint of the ith and (i#1)st
curve segments in each direction and

a condition specify by axis independence and convex hull properties. This is obtained by normaliz-

ing the basis function at u (v)"0 (see Refs. [23,24]).

The parametric equations of -spline surfaces can be visualized as the path of a particle moving

through space. Increasing above unity, the velocity of the particle immediately after a knot point

increases. This serves to push it further in the direction of the travel before it turns as in#uenced by

the next control point. This is said to bias the surface to the right. Decreasing below unity, the

particle velocity decreases and thus, it biases the paths towards the left. The parameter controls

the tension over the surface. As increased above zero, the knot points of the surface are pulled

towards their respective control vertices. For negative , the knot points are pushed away.

The local control is one of the most important advantages of -spline surface representation.

This control is obtained by the exploitation of piecewise representation of -spline formulation,

which is based in a local basis; that is, each -spline basis function has local support. Since each

control vertex is associated with a basis function, it only in#uences a local portion of the surface

and it has no e!ect on the remaining part of the surface. The movement of one control vertex has

the e!ect to modify only a local portion without the undesired side e!ect of disturbing the other

portions of the surface.

The complete de"nition of a surface requires the speci"cation of a boundary condition. In this

case, the technique of phantom vertices boundary conditions is used. In this technique a set of

"ctitious or phantom vertices are created around the boundary of the original control graph which

de"ne additional surfaces patches. These patches are of normal size and the complete surface

consists of m by n patches.

The auxiliary phantom patches satisfy some end condition. A convenient boundary condition is

to set the appropriate parametric second partial derivative vector to zero at the end point along

each boundary curve between adjacent surface patches. That is the curvature is zero along the

boundaries of the modeling surface.

A complete explanation of -spline formulation and its evaluation can be found elsewhere (see

[23,24]).

W. Annicchiarico, M. Cerrolaza / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 37 (2001) 403}415 409

Genetic algorithms are search algorithms based on the mechanics of natural selection and

natural genetics. They converge quickly to the optimum design with a minimum e!ort, having to

test only a small fraction of the design space to "nd out either the near optimum or the optimum

solution.

A complete description of GAs techniques can be found in the works of Goldberg [25] and Davis

[26] among other available excellent works.

The optimization scheme used to obtain the best pro"les of the optimization model can be stated

as follows:

1. Selection of the design variables: in this work the position of some -spline surface control

vertices (V ), the surface shape parameters ( , ) and some parametric dimensions used to

de"ne the optimization model are used.

2. Creation of an initial population of individual: each individual that forms a population is

created by the simple concatenation of the design variables. They are coded in binary and

de"ned in a random way over its design space.

3. Select parents: there exist several methods to do this task. In this paper a remainder stochastic

selection without replacement was used, since this method produces better solutions.

4. Apply genetic operators in order to create the next generation: in this work uniform crossover

and simple mutation are used.

5. Evaluate the objective function and constraints.

6. If the optimum has not been reached yet, repeat steps 3}5 until the optimum is found or the

optimization process is ended by an end condition such as maximum number of generations.

The shape optimization problem consists of "nding out the shape of the model having the

minimum volume and the minimum stress concentration zones. So that, the objective function is

stated by

,

min (Vol)" < , (7)

where V : is the volume of element i, and Nel the number of "nite elements of the model.

G

Subjected to

(a) Stress constraint: the Von-Mises stresses, calculated at Gauss points of the "nite element, must

not exceed the limit value

G ! )0. (8)

The Von}Mises stress is calculated as

"[( ! )#( ! )#( ! )#3( # # )] (9)

V W W X X V VW WX XV

410 W. Annicchiarico, M. Cerrolaza / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 37 (2001) 403}415

(b) Nodal coordinates constraints over the control vertices (V ): nodal coordinates of some nodes

of the control graph should not move beyond certain limit values in X,Y and Z directions in

order to avoid geometry distortions.

(c) Restrictions on the shape of the elements of the moving surface, in order to avoid singular or

negative Jacobeans.

(d) Side constraints: this kind of constraints depend on the problem to be optimized and they are

used to prevent topology changes in the con"guration of the geometric model which may yield

non-real geometries.

In order to incorporate the constraints described above, the penalty method is used. In this

method the "tness of an individual design is increased when constraints are violated. Then Eq. (7)

can be written in the following way:

g "=# #

<p#H (g , 0)#H (g , 0), (10)

G A Q

where g is the penalized weight, i the structured index, the allowed stress minus acting stress,

Vp the allowed control-points coordinate minus actual control-points coordinate, H (g , 0) the

function that measure the elements shape distortion. If there exist some singular or negative

Jacobians g "
W , otherwise g "0 and H (g , 0) the function that measure the violation of side

A A Q

constraints. If one or several side constraints are violated g "W, otherwise g "0.

Q Q

The parameters ,

, , ,
, are adjusted by trial and, in this paper, they have been evaluated in

such a way that a 10% of violation in every constraint increases the original weight by about of 5%.

6. Numerical examples

The versatility and power of the proposed three-dimensional shape optimization technique is

demonstrated and discussed by means of a square bar subjected to traction. The following results

show the average of three di!erent runs of the problem due to the stochastic nature of the

optimization process.

In Fig. 3 is depicted a three-dimensional cantilever plate. The "nite-element mesh of the initial

design consist of 448 parallelepipeds elements and a total of 700 nodes. The structure is subjected to

a total edge load of 20.000.00 N at the free end. The material properties are as follows: Young's

modulus"10;10 Mpa, Poisson's ratio"0.3, and allowable e!ective stress"3000 Mpa.

The objective problem is to minimize the volume of the structure, subject to constraint on the

e!ective stress at several location of the "nite-element model. The optimum shape is determined by

changing the top and bottom surfaces (ABCD-EFGH) and the hole size.

The design model consist of "ve design variables, two corresponding to the dimensions of the

two-dimensional }spline surfaces , others two are used to represent the shape parameters of the

surfaces and the "fth variable is for varying the hole size. Table 1 presents the genetic parameters

and operators used to optimise the plate.

W. Annicchiarico, M. Cerrolaza / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 37 (2001) 403}415 411

Fig. 3. Geometry, dimensions, boundary and load conditions for a cantilevered beam with a circular hole.

Table 1

Genetic parameters for cantilever plate under tension

Number of generations 50

Selection scheme RSSWR

Crossover scheme Uniform crossover

Crossover probability 0.8

Mutation probability 0.005

Fig. 4. Final optimized shape for the cantilevered beam with a circular hole.

As can be calculated in Fig. 3, the initial design has a volume of 18048.20 mm with the stress

constraint satis"ed.

The "nal shape of the plate is shown in Fig. 4. It can be noted how the plate volume was reduced

according to the stress constraints and the geometric consideration by the presence of the hole.

412 W. Annicchiarico, M. Cerrolaza / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 37 (2001) 403}415

Fig. 5. (a) Initial Von-Mises stress distribution for the cantilevered beam with a circular hole; (b) "nal Von-Mises stress

distribution for the cantilevered beam with a circular hole.

a nearly "fty percent (50%) reduction.

The initial and "nal stress distributions are compared in Figs. 5a and 5b. It is noted how the top

and bottom surfaces varying in a smoothed way through the length of the plate and its "nal

con"guration is the result of the interaction between allowable stress and the element stresses near

the moving surfaces of the plate.

The objective and constraint iteration histories are shown in Fig. 6 by means of non-dimensional

volume factor (iteration volume/initial volume) and stress factor (iteration stress/allowable stress).

It can be appreciated how the adimensional factor of volume decrease until its optimum value and

the adimensional factor of stress is always below one.

W. Annicchiarico, M. Cerrolaza / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 37 (2001) 403}415 413

Fig. 7. Shape evolution history for the cantilevered beam with a circular hole.

Finally, the evolution shape history is presented in Fig. 7. Di!erent shapes of the plate are

displayed through the optimization process until the "nal one is found.

7. Concluding remarks

An integrated approach for three-dimensional shape optimal design using -spline surface

representation, genetic algorithms and mesh parameterization has been presented. The de"nition

414 W. Annicchiarico, M. Cerrolaza / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 37 (2001) 403}415

of geometry through -spline geometric entities provides a great versatility for the characterisation

and control of the body shape. Also, the use of GAs as optimization technique increases the

performance of the developed tool due to its great advantages as compared with traditional

optimization techniques.

As shown in the example, the use of this combined optimization tool provides an alternative,

e!ective and realizable way to solve this kind of problem and their encourages its application to

more complex three-dimensional shape optimization problems.

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to acknowledge the support provided by the Council for Humanistic and

Scienti"c Development (CDCH) and National Council for Scienti"c Research (CONICIT) of

Venezuela.

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