Finite Element Analysis and Genetic Algorithm Optimization Design for the Actuator Placement on a Large Adaptive Structure
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The dissertation focuses on one of the major research needs in the area of adaptive /intelligent/smart structures, the development and application of finite element analysis and genetic algorithms for optimal design of large-scale adaptive structures. We first review some basic concepts in finite element method and genetic algorithms, along with the research on smart structures. Then we propose a solution methodology for solving a critical problem in the design of a next generation of large-scale adaptive structures -- optimal placements of a large number of actuators to control thermal deformations. After briefly reviewing the three most frequently used general approaches to derive a finite element formulation, the dissertation presents techniques associated with general shell finite element analysis using flat triangular laminated composite elements. The element used here has three nodes and eighteen degrees of freedom and is obtained by combining a triangular membrane element and a triangular plate bending element. The element includes the coupling effect between membrane deformation and bending deformation. The membrane element is derived from the linear strain triangular element using Cook's transformation. The discrete Kirchhoff triangular (DKT) element is used as the plate bending element. For completeness, a complete derivation of the DKT is presented. Geometrically nonlinear finite element formulation is derived for the analysis of adaptive structures under the combined thermal and electrical loads. Next, we solve the optimization problems of placing a large number of piezoelectric actuators to control thermal distortions in a large mirror in the presence of four different thermal loads. We then extend this to a multi-objective optimization problem of determining only one set of piezoelectric actuator locations that can be used to control the deformation in the same mirror under the action of any one of the four thermal loads. A series of genetic algorithms, GA Version 1, 2 and 3, were developed to find the optimal locations of piezoelectric actuators from the order of 1021 ~ 1056 candidate placements. Introducing a variable population approach, we improve the flexibility of selection operation in genetic algorithms. Incorporating mutation and hill climbing into micro-genetic algorithms, we are able to develop a more efficient genetic algorithm. Through extensive numerical experiments, we find that the design search space for the optimal placements of a large number of actuators is highly multi-modal and that the most distinct nature of genetic algorithms is their robustness. They give results that are random but with only a slight variability. The genetic algorithms can be used to get adequate solution using a limited number of evaluations. To get the highest quality solution, multiple runs including different random seed generators are necessary. The investigation time can be significantly reduced using a very coarse grain parallel computing. Overall, the methodology of using finite element analysis and genetic algorithm optimization provides a robust solution approach for the challenging problem of optimal placements of a large number of actuators in the design of next generation of adaptive structures.
- Doctoral Dissertations