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Topology Optimisation

The word Topology is the combination of:

  • tópos = place
  • lógos = study

Optimisation is defined as: the action of making the best or most effective use of a situation or resource

Freely interpretated: the effective positioning of material

Topology Optimisation is a multistep design process that results in a highly optimised geometry. Its optimisation results in a lightweight component, requiring less resources during production, a more efficient product during its use and enabling higher performance. 

Fransiscó can support with:

  • Performing optimisations from concept to prototype
  • Training your people in using the software, independent from software vendor
  • Act as a Topology Optimisation consultant for your engineers or engineering department


Topology Optimisation got its big breakthrough during the 3D printing hype around 2012. The design freedom of 3D printing (additive manufacturing) enabled the manufacturing of the organic topology optimisation results.

The origin of Topology Optimisation can be found in the 19th century, When Julius Wolff’s defined the Bone Law: Bones will adapt to the degree of mechanical loading.

In the early 1990’s research at the University of Michigan resulted in a mathematical model of bone growth patterns. Some years later in 1994, this algorithm was first used commercially by General Motors.

Steps involved

The process starts with defining the design domain. What is the volume that needs to be optimised (Design Space), which elements certainly cannot be modified (Non-Design Space). 

The loads acting on the component need to be clear, and applied in the correct position, mimicing the load case in real life. Loads can be mechanical or thermal.

 Optimisation targets steer the algorithm into the desired direction. Maxime the stiffness, or minimise mass with a deformation limit applied. Also material properties and manufacturing constraints can be set. 

The optimisation itself can be done with various software packages and various algoritms.

The result is often an organic looking geometry. Depending on the softwate used this will be automatically transformed into something that can be manufactured.  

Topology Optimisation – Steps

Topology Optimisation – Background