Optimal design of fibre-reinforced laminated plates accounting for manufacturing uncertainty
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A procedure to design symmetrically laminated plates under buckling loads for minimum weight with manufacturing uncertainty (tolerance) in the ply angle and plate thickness, which are the design variables, is described. A minimum buckling load capacity is the design constraint implemented. It is assumed that the probability of any tolerance value occurring within the tolerance band, compared with any other, is equal, and thus the approach is a worst case scenario approach. The effects of bending–twisting coupling are neglected in implementing the procedure, and the Downhill Simplex method is used as the search technique, but the methodology is flexible and allows any appropriate problem formulation and search algorithm to be substituted. Two different tolerance scenarios are used for the purposes of illustrating the methodology, and plates with varying aspect ratios and loading ratios are optimally designed and compared. The results demonstrate the importance of carrying out design optimisation of composite structures with the effects of manufacturing tolerances included.