Numerical design optimisation for the Karoo Array Telescope

Joubert, N. J. D. (2009-03)

Thesis (MScEng (Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


Although mass minimisation is an important application within structural optimisation, other applications include: (1) concept generation, (2) concept evaluation, (3) design for structural feasibility and (4) data matching. These applications, except data matching, are discussed and illustrated on a prototype design of the Karoo Array Telescope (KAT) antenna. The KAT passed through the design process and a full scale prototype was built, but was found to be too expensive. A detailed finite element model of the finalised design was considered as a test bed for reducing costs. Size-, shape- and topology optimisation are applied to three KAT components, while considering wind, temperature and gravity loads. Structural- and nonstructural constraints are introduced. Coupling of the structural optimisation code with an external analysis program to include non-structural responses and the parallelisation of the sensitivity calculations are presented. It is shown that if a finite element model is available, it is generally possible to apply structural optimisation to improve an existing design. A reduction of 2673 kg steel was accomplished for the existing KAT components. The total cost saving for the project will be significant, when considering that a large amount of antennas will be manufactured.

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