Stability-ensured topology optimization of boom structures with volume and stress considerations

Wenjun Li, Qicai Zhou, Zhen Jiang, Jiadong Deng, Wei Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The boom structure is a key component of giant boom cranes, and the stability-ensured topology optimization is critical to its lightweight design. The finite difference method, direct differentiation or adjoint method needs many time-consuming nonlinear analyses for this problem with a large number of design variables and constraints, and the last two methods are difficult to implement in off-the-shelf softwares. To overcome these challenges, this work first defines a global stability index to measure the global stability of the whole structure, and a compression member stability index to identify the buckling of compression members. Numerical and experimental verifications of these two stability indices are conducted by analyzing a simple three-dimensional frame. Next, the anti-buckling mechanism of boom structures is analyzed to develop the precedence order of freezing relative web members. The stability indices and the freezing measure are then utilized as a part of a novel Stability-Ensured Soft Kill Option (SSKO) algorithm, built upon the existing Soft Kill Option (SKO) method. The objective is to minimize the discrepancy between structural volume and predetermined target volume, while the global stability and stress are regarded as constraints. Lastly, the SSKO algorithm with different scenarios is applied to topology optimization problems of four-section frames and a ring crane boom; in both cases the consistent and stable topologies exhibit applicability of the proposed algorithm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-512
Number of pages20
JournalStructural and Multidisciplinary Optimization
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Boom structures
  • Geometric nonlinearity
  • Stability index
  • Stability-ensured soft kill option
  • Topology optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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