Optimal design of periodic functionally graded composites with prescribed properties

Glaucio H. Paulino, Emílio Carlos Nelli Silva, Chau H. Le

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57 Scopus citations


The computational design of a composite where the properties of its constituents change gradually within a unit cell can be successfully achieved by means of a material design method that combines topology optimization with homogenization. This is an iterative numerical method, which leads to changes in the composite material unit cell until desired properties (or performance) are obtained. Such method has been applied to several types of materials in the last few years. In this work, the objective is to extend the material design method to obtain functionally graded material architectures, i.e. materials that are graded at the local level (e.g. microstructural level). Consistent with this goal, a continuum distribution of the design variable inside the finite element domain is considered to represent a fully continuous material variation during the design process. Thus the topology optimization naturally leads to a smoothly graded material system. To illustrate the theoretical and numerical approaches, numerical examples are provided. The homogenization method is verified by considering one-dimensional material gradation profiles for which analytical solutions for the effective elastic properties are available. The verification of the homogenization method is extended to two dimensions considering a trigonometric material gradation, and a material variation with discontinuous derivatives. These are also used as benchmark examples to verify the optimization method for functionally graded material cell design. Finally the influence of material gradation on extreme materials is investigated, which includes materials with near-zero shear modulus, and materials with negative Poisson's ratio.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-489
Number of pages21
JournalStructural and Multidisciplinary Optimization
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Control and Optimization


  • Extreme materials
  • Functionally graded materials
  • Homogenization
  • Material design
  • Negative Poisson's ratio materials
  • Optimization
  • Zero shear-modulus materials


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