Online Course Catalog

AE 498 SDP - Structural Design Optimization

Spring 2018

Structural Design OptimizationSDP68096ONL4 -    Kai A. James

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to optimal design of structures and mechanisms using finite element analysis and numerical optimization. The course begins with a brief review of the finite element method for solving linear elastic boundary value problems. We then cover the theory and principles of gradient-based numerical optimization for constrained nonlinear programming problems. These techniques will be applied to a variety of structural optimization problems involving sizing, shape and topology optimization of structures and mechanisms. Special topics will include optimal design of compliant mechanisms, implementation of material failure constraints, and design for additive manufacturing. The course will include a design project in which students will optimize, fabricate and demonstrate an original design using the concepts introduced during the course. The project will culminate in a competition in which groups will compete to determine whose design is truly “optimal”.

Credit Hours

4 hours


Any one of of the following courses: AE 420, CEE 470, ME 471, TAM 470, TAM 445 or TAM 551. (

Subject Area

  • Aerospace Engineering