Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Candidate Seminar


Multi-material and multi-scale topology optimization and additive manufacturing with continuous microstructure embedding


Ms. Emily Sanders


Georgia Institute of Technology


Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 11:00:00 AM



Dr, Matt McDowell


Due to increased geometric freedom at a widening range of length scales and access to a growing material space, additive manufacturing has spurred renewed interest in topology optimization of parts with spatially-varying material properties and structural hierarchy. Simultaneously, a surge of new micro-/nano-architected materials have been demonstrated. Nevertheless, multi-scale design and micro-/nano-scale additive manufacturing have yet to be sufficiently integrated to achieve freeform, multi-scale, biomimetic structures. After providing a basic understanding of topology optimization, this seminar will unify design and manufacturing of spatially-varying, hierarchical parts through a multi-scale and multi-material topology optimization formulation with continuous microstructure embedding scheme. The voxel-based approach to communicating with the 3D printer, which avoids prohibitively expensive surface representations of the multi-scale parts and guarantees connectivity of the microstructural materials, will be discussed in detail. Several prototypes with microstructural features on the order of 200-400 μm and macrostructure geometry on the order of 15-25 cm will be shown.


Emily D. Sanders is currently pursuing her PhD in the School of Civil and Env. Eng. at Georgia Tech. She received her BS and MS degrees in Civil Eng. from Bucknell Univ. and Stanford Univ., respectively. Between her MS and PhD studies, Emily worked for WorleyParsons in Reading, PA as a structural engineer in the nuclear industry. Emily’s research interests are cross-disciplinary with applications in several fields of engineering. She is currently pursuing mechanics-driven, optimization-based design and advanced manufacturing for biomimetic, engineered components and materials.


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