Topology optimisation of periodic structures

Structures that duplicate a large number of identical or similar modules will substantially reduce manufacturing costs and greatly simplify the assembly process.

Grants and funding: 

This project has been funded by the Australian Research Council under its Discovery Projects funding scheme (Project No. DP1094401).

Many architectural designs incorporate periodic or repetitive geometrical patterns and they often exhibit a distinctive aesthetic appeal. New techniques for the optimal design of periodic structures will enable architects to create innovative and efficient structural systems. The developed algorithms from this project can be applied to not only large scale structures such bridges and high-rise buildings but also the design of new materials at micro scales.

Example  - a perforated bridge design

The work shown here was part of a project for a proposed footbridge in Australia, for which Professor Mike Xie and his team were retained as the structural optimisation consultant by BKK Architects.

Example - stiffness design of wheel rims

With modern topology optimisation techniques, the design of high performance wheels can be achieved quickly. One of the wheel designs obtained from using the BESO technique is given below, with comparison to existing real wheels.

Key people

  • Dr Zhihao Zuo
  • Professor Mike Xie
  • Dr Xiaodong Huang
  • Mr Tim Black


  • X. Huang and Y.M. Xie, ’Optimal design of periodic structures using evolutionary topology optimization’. Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization, 36, pp 597–606, 2008.
  • Z.H. Zuo, Y.M. Xie and X. Huang, ’Reinventing the wheel’, Journal of Mechanical Design, 133(2), 024502, 2011.
  • Y.M. Xie, Z.H. Zuo, X. Huang and J.H. Rong, ’Convergence of topological patterns of optimal periodic structures under multiple scales’. Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization ,46, pp 41-50, 2012.
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