Fuzzy tolerance multilevel approach for structural topology optimization

Zhen Luo, Li Ping Chen, Jingzhou Yang, Yun Qing Zhang, Karim Abdel-Malek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


This paper presents a novel methodology, fuzzy tolerance multilevel programming approach, for applying fuzzy set theory and sequence multilevel method to multi-objective topology optimization problems of continuum structures undergoing multiple loading cases. Ridge-type nonlinear membership functions in fuzzy set theory are applied to embody fuzzy and uncertain characteristics essentially involved by the objective and constraint functions. Sequence multilevel method is used to characterize the different priorities of loading cases at different levels making contribution to the final optimum solution, which is practically beneficial to reduce the subjective influence transferred by using weighted approaches. The solid isotropic material with penalization (SIMP) is adopted as the density-stiffness interpolation scheme to relax the original optimization problem and indicate the dependence of material properties with element pseudo-densities. Sequential linear programming (SLP) is used as the optimizer to solve the multi-objective optimization problem formulated using fuzzy tolerance multilevel programming scheme. Numerical instabilities, such as checkerboards and mesh dependencies are summarized and a duplicate sensitivity filtering method, in favor of contributing to the mesh-dependent optimum designs, is subsequently proposed to regularize the singularity of the optimization problem. The validation of the methodologies presented in this work has been demonstrated by detailed examples of numerical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-140
Number of pages14
JournalComputers and Structures
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Fuzzy set theory
  • Multi-objective
  • Numerical instabilities
  • Tolerance multilevel programming approach
  • Topology optimization


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