Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Advisor 1

Gregory Odegard

Committee Member 1

Paul Sanders

Committee Member 2

Paul J. van Susante


Optimization of the automobile components can result in a significant decrease in vehicle weight, increase in fuel efficiency and reduction in environmental damage. For example, the lightweight vehicle production will save over 4.4×109 GJ of energy and 4.1×108 tons of CO2 over a 10 year period, compared to the current non-light weight vehicles. This equates to 890 billion miles or 42 billion gallons of gas savings (Wu 2016). This study evaluates the weight reduction possible by using manual and automatic (using Optistruct software) topology optimization processes. Optimization of a vehicle differential case done in this study shows that a weight reduction of up to 38% is possible without affecting the safety of the component. The manual optimization methodology used for this process can be implemented for any other cast component. In addition to this, a comparative study is performed of topology optimization (using Optistruct software) on a control arm considering static loading conditions and fatigue (dynamic) loading conditions. Comparison of those optimization results shows that the resulting component of the topology optimization having a constraint for fatigue life performs better in fatigue loading analysis. The majority of the research papers related to topology optimization consider only static loads during the optimization setup and then the resultant optimized component is analyzed for fatigue safety. But instead of this approach, the consideration of an additional fatigue constrains in the optimization problem formulation may give a resultant component with comparatively better life under fatigue loading. This assumption is proved to be right from the results of the study performed on the control arm.