Lattice structure design and optimization with additive manufacturing constraints

Yunlong Tang, Guoying Dong, Qinxue Zhou, Yaoyao Fiona Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Lattice structures with different desired physical properties are promising for a broad spectrum of applications. The availability of additive manufacturing (AM) technology has relaxed the fabricating limitation of lattice structures. However, manufacturing constraints still exist for AM-fabricated lattice structures, which have a significant influence on the printing quality and mechanical properties of lattice struts. In this paper, a design and optimization strategy is proposed for lattice structures with the consideration of manufacturability to ensure desired printing quality. The concept of manufacturable element is used to link the design and manufacturing process. A meta-model is constructed by experiments and the artificial neural network to obtain the manufacturing constraints. Sizes of struts are optimized by a bidirectional evolutionary structural optimization-based algorithm with these manufacturing constraints. An arm of quadcopter is redesigned and optimized to validate the proposed method. Its result shows that optimized heterogeneous lattice structures can improve the stiffness of the model compared to the homogeneous lattice structure and the original design. Both the Von-Mises stress and the maximum displacement are reduced without increasing the weight of designed part. And by considering the manufacturability constraints, the optimized design has been successfully fabricated by the selected additive manufacturing process. Note to Practitioners - Lattice structures might fail to be fabricated by the additive manufacturing technique if the designed model exceeds the processability of the machine. Our approach has the capability of considering the manufacturing constraints in the design and optimization process. We conducted experiments to investigate the manufacturability and proposed a method that can give the domain of the design variables for a selected manufacturing process. And we also designed an algorithm that can optimize the lattice structure inside the domain of design variables. It ensures that the lattice model can be successfully fabricated by the selected process and the performance is dramatically increased compared to the original design. Engineers can use our approach to optimize the lattice structure automatically without knowing the knowledge of optimization and manufacturability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1546-1562
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Additive manufacturing (AM)
  • design
  • lattice structure
  • manufacturing constraints

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