Improved Genetic Algorithm for the Design of Stiffened Composite Panels
Haftka, Raphael T.
Watson, Layne T.
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The design of composite structures against buckling presents two major challenges to the designer. First, the problem of laminate stacking sequence design is discrete in nature, involving a small set of fiber orientations, which complicates the solution process. Therefore, the design of the stacking sequence is a combinatorial optimization problem which is suitable for genetic algorithms. Second, many local optima with comparable performance may be found. Most optimization algorithms find only a single optimum, while often a designer would want to obtain all the local optima with performance close to the global optimum. Genetic algorithms can easily find many near optimal solutions. However, they usually require very large computational costs. Previous work by the authors on the use of genetic algorithms for designing stiffened composite panels revealed both the above strength and weakness of the genetic algorithm. The present paper suggests several changes to the basic genetic algorithm developed previously, and demonstrates reduced computational cost and increased reliability of the algorithm due to these changes. Additionally, for a stiffened composite panel used in this study, designs lighter by about 4 percent compared to previous results were obtained.