Computers and Structures 84 (2006) 787–797
www.elsevier.com/locate/compstruc
K. Ja´ rmai ^{a} , J.A. Snyman ^{b}^{,} * , J. Farkas ^{a}
^{a} Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Miskolc, H3515 Miskolc, Hungary ^{b} Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Received 23 March 2005; accepted 18 January 2006
Abstract
In this study the optimal design of a cylindrical orthogonally stiﬀened shell member of an oﬀshore ﬁxed platform truss, loaded by axial compression and external pressure, is investigated. Ring stiﬀeners of welded box section and stringers of halved rolled Isection are used. The design variables considered in the optimization are the shell thickness as well as the dimensions and numbers of stiﬀeners. The design constraints relate to the shell, panel ring and panel stringer buckling, as well as manufacturing limitations. The cost function includes the cost of material, forming of plate elements into cylindrical shape, welding and painting. In the optimization a number of relatively new mathematical optimization methods (leapfrog – LFOPC, DynamicQ, ETOPC, and particle swarm – PSO) are used, in order to ensure conﬁdence that the ﬁnally computed optimum design is accurately determined, and indeed corresponds to a global minimum. The con tinuous optimization procedures are adapted to allow for discrete values of the design variables to be used in the ﬁnal manufacturing of the truss member. A comparison of the computed optimum costs of the stiﬀened and unstiﬀened assemblies, shows that signiﬁcant cost savings can be achieved by orthogonal stiﬀening, since the latter allows for considerable reduction of the shell thickness, which results in large material and manufacturing cost savings. 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Welded stiﬀened shells; Stiﬀened cylindrical shell buckling; Manufacturing cost calculation; Structural optimization; Mathematical optimiz ation methods
1. Introduction
Structural optimization is the search for designs that ful ﬁll certain prescribed requirements in an optimal manner. The main requirements for modern engineering structures are that they should be safe with regard to loadcarrying capacity, ﬁt for production, whilst at the same time being economic. In an optimum design procedure, structural assemblies are sought which fulﬁll the prescribed design and manufacturing constraints, and at the same time min imize an associated cost function. The cost function and the functions specifying the constraints may depend on many variables, and the behaviour of the functions may be highly nonlinear. The solution of such problems by
^{*} Corresponding author. Email address: jan.snyman@eng.up.ac.za (J.A. Snyman).
00457949/$  see front matter 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.compstruc.2006.01.002
computer therefore requires, not only reﬁned and realistic mathematical models of the structure, but also suﬃciently accurate, reliable and economic numerical methods and procedures to drive the structural design to an acceptable optimum conﬁguration. The particular problem of interest here is the minimum cost design of a welded stiﬀened steel shell. Cylindrical shells are used in many engineering loadcarrying struc tures, for example, as columns, towers for wind turbines or water tanks, and in oﬀshore and submarine structures. They are also used in beltconveyor bridges, and in pres sure vessels. The main structural characteristics of stiﬀened cylindrical shells are that they are subjected to axial com pression loads, bending, and external or internal pressures. The shells therefore require orthogonal stiﬀening via ring or stringer stiﬀeners. Typically the stiﬀener shapes are ﬂat, rolled T or Lproﬁles, coldformed Lproﬁles, welded T or box proﬁles, or trapezoidal.
788 K. Ja´ rmai et al. / Computers and Structures 84 (2006) 787–797
In recent years a number of new optimization algo rithms have been developed, such as the leapfrog algo rithm [1–3], the successive approximation DynamicQ method [4,5], the ETOPC gradientonly method [6], and the Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) approach [7]. In the present study these methods are all applied to the min imum cost design of the above mentioned welded stiﬀened cylindrical steel shell assembly. Since the authors have been intimately involved in the development of all of these algo rithms, the associated optimization computer programs were readily available and could all be implemented with ease and little additional eﬀort. The successful application of all these methods, including the particle swarm global method, ensured conﬁdence in the accuracy of the com puted minima, and indicated with a very high probability that the global optimum was indeed found. It also allows for a comparison of the relative accuracy and economy of the diﬀerent methods for structural problems. The con tinuous optimization procedures are adapted, to allow for the discrete nature of the design variables to be used in the actual ﬁnal manufacturing of the truss member. The outline of the remainder of this paper is as follows. In the next section more detailed information is given regard ing the particular cylindrical shell truss member design problem to be addressed in this study. In Section 3, for the orthogonally stiﬀened cylindricalshell member, the buck ling and manufacturing constraints imposed on the design are presented. In Section 4, the construction of the associ ated cost function, which includes material, manufacturing and painting costs, is dealt with. Section 5 discusses the cor responding constraints and cost function for the unstiﬀened shell, subjected to the same loads as the orthogonally stiﬀ ened one. In Section 6, on formal mathematical optimiza tion, a reformulation of the optimization problem in general mathematical notation is given, which allows for a brief introduction to the new optimization algorithms to be used in computing the optimum designs. In Section 7, detailed presentation and discussion of the numerical opti mization results is given, and in Section 8, some ﬁnal conclu sions, drawn from the study, are presented.
2. Cylindrical shell truss member design problem
This study follows on previous work by two of the authors on welded steel shells. A method for calculating radial displacements due to shrinkage of circumferential welds has been developed [8]. Also, a cost calculation method, mainly for welded structures, has been proposed [9]. Using this method it is possible to evaluate the econ omy of structural assemblies, which allows for signiﬁcant cost savings in the design stage. In particular, minimum cost designs have been computed for a ringstiﬀened shell subject to external pressure [10], a ringstiﬀened shell (beltconveyor bridge) subject to bending [11], and a strin ger stiﬀened shell (column) loaded by axial compression and bending, with a displacement constraint at the top of the column [12].
A further important problem is to evaluate the economy of stiﬀening, i.e. how to achieve cost savings by using thin ner stiﬀened plates or shells instead of thicker unstiﬀened ones. A stiﬀened structure is economic, if the thickness can be decreased in such a manner that, the cost saving caused by this decrease is higher than the additional cost of the stiﬀening material and the extra welding. Since in cylindrical shells the cost of the forming of the plate ele ments into cylindrical shapes, and that of the welding of the shell elements, increases with increase in shell thickness, the decrease of thickness of the shells can result in signiﬁ cant cost savings. In previous studies it was found that the ringstiﬀeners are indeed economic to use for external pressure, since a cylindrical shell is very sensitive to the buckling by external pressure. On the other hand their buckling strength against axial compression or bending is high, so the use of stringers in these cases is uneconomic, unless a lateral displacement constraint of the whole shell is active and the halved rolled Isection stringers are welded outside the shell. In the present study the combined load of axial com pression and external pressure is considered, as it acts on parts of the columns of a truss tower of a ﬁxed oﬀshore platform (see Fig. 1). The cylindricalshell member that is orthogonally stiﬀened by using ring stiﬀeners of box crosssection and stringers of halved rolled Isection (see
Fig. 1. A part of a ﬁxed oﬀshore structure, the main columns are stiﬀened cylindrical shells.
K. Ja´ rmai et al. / Computers and Structures 84 (2006) 787–797
x
789
Fig. 2. Stringer and ring stiﬀened cylindrical shell with compression and external pressure.
Le
3.1. Shell (curved panel) buckling
Fig. 3. Crosssection of the stiﬀened shell.
Fig. 2), is to be optimized with respect to a cost function, which includes material, manufacturing and painting costs. In order to demonstrate the economy of the stiﬀening, both stiﬀened and unstiﬀened assemblies are optimized and their costs are compared to each other (Section 7, Tables 1a, 1b, 2–7). The design rules used here are formu lated according to the design rules of Det Norske Veritas [13]. The cost function is formulated in correspondence to the manufacturing sequence. The speciﬁed constraints relate to shell buckling, panel stringer and panel ring buck ling, as well as to manufacturing limitations. In the case of the orthogonally stiﬀened assemblies, the particular design variable to be considered are the shell thickness (t), the number of longitudinal stiﬀeners (string ers) (n _{s} ), the number of ringstiﬀeners (n _{r} ), the box height (h _{r} ) and the stringer stiﬀener height (h = h _{1} + 2t _{f} ) (see Figs. 2 and 3).
3. Constraints for the orthogonally stiﬀened cylindrical shell member
Some of the quantities that appear in the deﬁnitions of the constraints are given below, are also indicated in Fig. 2.
Here f _{y} is the yield stress, N _{F} is the factored compression force, R is the shell radius, t is the shell thickness, A _{s} is the crosssectional area of a stringer, n _{s} is the number of longitudinal stiﬀeners (stringers). Also appearing in the above constraint deﬁnition is the stress due to external pressure
r p ¼
p R
F
t ð1 þ aÞ ^{;} ^{a} ^{¼}
A R
L e0 t ^{;}
p ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ L _{e}_{0} ¼ minðL _{r} ; L _{e}_{r} ¼ 1:56 Rt Þ and L _{r} ¼
L ð3Þ
n r
_{} _{1} .
Here p _{F} is the factored external pressure intensity, A _{r} is the crosssectional area of a ringstiﬀener, L is the shell length, n _{r} is the number of ringstiﬀeners, L _{r} is the distance between rings. Also used in the deﬁnition above is k ^{2} deﬁned by
s
k ^{2} ¼
s
f y1
r e
r Eas ¼ C as
r a 
þ ^{r} ^{p} ; where r Eps 

r Eas 

p ^{2} E 

t 
2 ; 

12ð1 m ^{2} Þ s 
ð4Þ
E and m are the Young modulus and the Poisson ratio, respectively
790 K. Ja´ rmai et al. / Computers and Structures 84 (2006) 787–797
C _{a}_{s} ¼ w _{a}_{s} s ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ 1 þ
^{q} as ^{n} as ^{w} as 2 n _{a}_{s} ¼ 0:702Z _{a}_{s} ; R ^{} 0:5 
; w _{a}_{s} ¼ 4; Z _{a}_{s} ¼ p ^{2} E t 
s ^{2} Rt 
p ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ 1 m ^{2} ; 2 

q _{a}_{s} ¼ 0:5 1 þ 150t ; ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ 
r Eps ¼ C ps 
10:92 s 

; 

C _{p}_{s} ¼ w _{p}_{s} v u u t ! 2 1 þ ^{q} ^{p}^{s} ^{n} ^{p}^{s} ; ^{w} ps q _{p}_{s} ¼ 0:6; and n _{p}_{s} ¼ 1:04 ^{s} L r p ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ Z ps " ; Z _{p}_{s} ¼ Z _{a}_{s} and w _{p}_{s} ¼ 1 þ

ð5Þ
ð6Þ
ð7Þ
s
L
r
2
# 2
.
ð8Þ
3.2. Panel stiﬀener (stringer) buckling
In this case the equivalent stress r _{e} , again according to
Furthermore
r Epp ¼ C pp
p ^{2} E
t
L
10:92
r
2
ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
v
u
! 2
; C _{p}_{p} ¼ w _{p}_{p} 1 þ ^{q} ^{p}^{p} ^{n} ^{p}^{p}
u
t
^{w}
pp
;
ð17Þ
n _{p}_{p} ¼ 1:04
p ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
Z pp
p ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
; Z _{p}_{p} ¼ Z _{a}_{p} ; q _{p}_{p} ¼ 0:6; and w _{p}_{p} ¼ 2ð1 þ 1 þ c _{s} Þ.
ð18Þ
3.3. Panel ring buckling
The ringstiﬀeners are welded square box sections (see
Fig. 2), constructed from three plate elements of width b _{r}
and thickness t _{r} . The relationship that must be satisﬁed
between the width and thickness, is prescribed by the Euro
code 3 [14] rule for compression plates against buckling,
and is given by
q ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
t _{r} P d _{r} h _{r} ; 1=d _{r} ¼ 42e; e ¼ 235=f _{y} ;
f _{y} ¼ 355; d _{r} ¼ 1=34.
ð19Þ
K. Ja´ rmai et al. / Computers and Structures 84 (2006) 787–797
791
and 

I 
p _{F} RR ^{2} 0 
L 
r 
2 4 _{2} _{þ} 3Ey _{E} d _{0} R ^{2} 0
f y 2 r 
3 

p ¼ 
3E 
p 
5 with d _{0} ¼ 0:005R. ð27Þ 

The constraint is 

I 
_{R}_{r}_{e}_{q} 6 I _{R} . 
ð28Þ 
3.4. Manufacturing limitations
In order to ensure that the welding of the webs of the
halved rolled Isection stringers into the shell is possible,
the minimum distance between the stringer ﬂanges should
satisfy the following condition:
2ðR h _{r} =2Þp
n s
b P 300 mm
or
_{n} s _{6} 2ðR h _{r} =2Þp
b þ 300
.
ð29Þ
ð30Þ
Another limitation is related to the minimum value of ﬁllet
welds connecting the stringer webs to the shell, and that for
connecting the plate elements of ringstiﬀeners. They are
respectively given by a _{w}_{s} = 0.4t _{w} , a _{w}_{s}_{.}_{m}_{i}_{n} = 3 mm, and
a _{w}_{r} = 0.4t _{r} , a _{w}_{r}_{.}_{m}_{i}_{n} = 3 mm.
4. Cost function for the orthogonally stiﬀened cylindrical
shell member
The cost function (K) includes material (K _{M} ) and man
ufacturing costs (K _{F} _{i} ), as well as the cost of painting (K _{P} )
the ﬁnal assembly, i.e. the total cost is given by
K ¼ K _{M} þ ^{X} K _{F}_{i} þ K _{P} .
i
ð31Þ
The manufacturing sequence, determining the associ
ated total manufacturing cost, is as follows:
(1) Form plate elements of L _{s} = 3 m length, into cylindri
cal shapes (K _{F}_{0} ).
(2) Weld shell segments of L _{s} = 3 m length, from 2
curved plate elements, with 2 butt welds using
GMAWC (Gas Metal Arc Welding with CO _{2} ) (K _{F}_{1} ).
(3) Weld whole unstiﬀened shell of L = 15 m length,
from 5 shell segments with 4 circumferential butt
welds, using GMAWC (K _{F}_{2} ).
(4) Weld n _{r} ringstiﬀeners from 3 plate elements with 2
ﬁllet welds, each using SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc
Welding) (K _{F}_{3} ).
(5) Weld n _{r} ringstiﬀeners into the whole shell with 2 n _{r}
circumferential ﬁllet welds, using SMAW (K _{F}_{4} ).
(6) Weld n _{s} stringers into the shell with 2 n _{s} ﬁllet welds,
using SMAW (K _{F}_{5} ).
The volume of a shell segment is
V _{1} ¼ 2RptL _{s}
ð32Þ
and the volume of a ringstiﬀener is given by
V _{R} ¼ 2pd _{r} h ðR h _{r} Þ þ 4pd _{r} h ðR h _{r} =2Þ.
r
r
2
2
ð33Þ
The material cost is expressed as
K _{M} ¼ k _{M}_{1} 5qV _{1} þ k _{M}_{1} qn _{r} V _{R} þ k _{M}_{2} qn _{s} A _{s} L;
ð34Þ
where k _{M}_{1} and k _{M}_{2} are the respective cost factors for plates
and rolled Isections and q denotes the speciﬁc density of
steel.
The manufacturing cost components are as follows:
K _{F}_{0} ¼ 5k _{F} He ^{l} ;
l
¼ 6:8582513 4:527217t ^{} ^{0}^{:}^{5} þ 0:009541996ð2RÞ ^{0}^{:}^{5} ;
p ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
K _{F}_{1} ¼ 5k _{F} ðH jqV _{1} þ 1:3 0:1520 10 ^{} ^{3} t ^{1}^{:}^{9}^{3}^{5}^{8}
2L _{s} Þ;
H ¼ 2;
j ¼ 2;
K _{F}_{2}
¼
p ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
k _{F} ðH 25qV _{1} þ 1:3 0:1520 10 ^{} ^{3} t ^{1}^{:}^{9}^{3}^{5}^{8} 4 2RpÞ;
K _{F}_{3}
¼
p ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
n _{r} k _{F} ½3 3qV _{R}
þ 1:3 0:3394 10 ^{} ^{3} a _{w}_{r} 4pðR h _{r} Þ ;
2
K _{F}_{4}
¼
p ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
k _{F} ½3 ðn _{r} þ 1Þqð5V _{1} þ n _{r} V _{R} Þ
þ 1:3 0:3394 10 ^{} ^{3} a _{w}_{r} n _{r} 4Rp ;
2
and
ð35Þ
_{ð}_{3}_{6}_{Þ}
ð37Þ
ð38Þ
ð39Þ
p ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
K _{F}_{5} ¼ k _{F} ½3 ðn _{r} þ n _{s} þ 1Þqð5V _{1} þ n _{r} V _{R} þ n _{s} A _{s} LÞ
þ 1:3 0:3394 10 ^{} ^{3} a _{w}_{s} n _{s} 2L .
2
ð40Þ
Finally, the cost of painting is given by
K _{P} ¼ k _{P} ½2RpL þ 2RpðL n _{r} h _{r} Þ þ 2n _{r} ph _{r} ðR h _{r} Þ
þ 4pn _{r} h _{r} R þ n _{s} Lðh _{1} þ 2bÞ .
h r
2
ð41Þ
5. Constraint and cost function for the unstiﬀened shell
5.1. Constraint on shell buckling
The equivalent stress r _{e} must satisfy the constraint
f y1 r _{e} ¼ r _{a} ^{2} r _{a} r _{p} þ r 6 p ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ p 1 þ k ^{4} q ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ 2 f y f y1 r a 

_{;} 

¼ 
r e
r Ea 

where f _{y}_{1} ¼ 1:1 ^{;} ^{k} 2 
þ ^{r} ^{p} ; r _{a} ¼ r Ep 

r Ea ¼ C a 
p ^{2} E 
t 
2 
; C _{a} ¼ w _{a} 1 þ 

q _{a} n _{a} 

12ð1 m ^{2} Þ L 
w a 

^{2} 

Z _{a} ¼ L Rt 
p ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
1 m ^{2} ; n _{a} ¼ 0702Z _{a} ; q _{a} ¼ 0:5 1 þ p ^{2} E t 2 ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ v u u ! 2 

r Ep ¼ C p 
10:92 L 
t 
w p 
s ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
N F 
p _{F} R 

2Rpt ^{;} ^{r} ^{p} ^{¼} t ^{;} 

2 
; w _{a} ¼ 1; 

R 
^{} 0:5 

150t 
; 
; C _{p} ¼ w _{p} 1 þ ^{q} ^{p} ^{n} ^{p} ; q _{p} ¼ 0:6;
ð42Þ
ð43Þ
ð44Þ
ð45Þ
ð46Þ
and n _{p} ¼ 1:04Z _{p} ; Z _{p} ¼ Z _{a} ; w _{p} ¼ 4.
ð47Þ
The reader should note that expression (42) for the unstiﬀ
ened case is diﬀerent from Eq. (1) for the stiﬀened shell,
792 K. Ja´ rmai et al. / Computers and Structures 84 (2006) 787–797
since the deﬁnitions of k used in (42) and k _{s} used in (1)
diﬀer. These diﬀerences and others such as t _{e} in (2) but t
in (43), are carried over in the deﬁning expressions that fol
low on (1) and (42), respectively.
5.2. 

ing and painting 

i 

V _{1} ¼ 2RptL _{s} . 

K _{M} ¼ k _{M}_{1} 5qV _{1} . 

K _{F}_{0} ¼ 5k _{F} He ^{l} ; 

p ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ 

H ¼ 2; 
j ¼ 2; 
p ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ 

6.1. 
Cost function for the unstiﬀened shell
The cost function includes cost of material, manufactur
ð48Þ
K ¼ K _{M} þ ^{X} K _{F}_{i} þ K _{P} .
The manufacturing sequence in this case is as follows:
(1) Form plate elements of L _{s} = 3 m length, into cylindri
cal shapes (K _{F}_{0} ).
(2) Weld shell segments of L _{s} = 3 m length from 2 curved
plate elements, with 2 butt welds, using GMAWC
(Gas Metal Arc Welding with CO _{2} ) (K _{F}_{1} ).
(3) Weld whole unstiﬀened shell of L = 15 m length,
from 5 shell segments with 4 circumferential butt
welds, using GMAWC (K _{F}_{2} ).
The volume of a shell segment is
ð49Þ
ð50Þ
The material cost is expressed as
where k _{M}_{1} is the cost factor for plates.
The manufacturing cost components for the unstiﬀened
shell are the same as those given for the stiﬀened shell in
(35) and (37). For the sake of completeness they are
ð51Þ
_{ð}_{5}_{2}_{Þ}
ð53Þ
restated here for the unstiﬀened case
l ¼ 6:8582513 4:527217t ^{} ^{0}^{:}^{5} þ 0:009541996ð2RÞ ^{0}^{:}^{5} ;
2L _{s} Þ;
K _{F}_{1} ¼ 5k _{F} ðH jqV _{1} þ 1:3 0:1520 10 ^{} ^{3} t ^{1}^{:}^{9}^{3}^{5}^{8}
K _{F}_{2} ¼ k _{F} ðH 25qV _{1} þ 1:3 0:1520 10 ^{} ^{3} t ^{1}^{:}^{9}^{3}^{5}^{8} 4 2RpÞ;
k _{F} = 1.0 $/min, k _{M}_{1} = 1.0 $/kg.
The cost of painting is given by K _{P} = 4RpLk _{P} ,
k _{P} = 14.4 · 10 ^{} ^{6} $/mm ^{2} .
6. Mathematical optimization
General formulation of design optimization problem
In the case of the orthogonally stiﬀened cylindricalshell
member the design variables are t, n _{s} , n _{r} , h _{r} , and h _{s} , and
the cost function K, also called the objective function,
clearly depends on these variables. In more general optimi
zation notation, the design vector is denoted by x =
[x _{1} , x _{2} ,
...
, x _{n} ] ^{T} = [t, n _{s} , n _{r} , h _{r} , h] ^{T} , and the objective function
by f(x) = K(x). The constraints, here (1), (9), (22), (28),
(30), may be written in the standard inequality form as
g _{j} (x) 6 0, j = 1,
...
, m, where in general m denotes the num
ber, here 5, of inequality constraints. Side constraints, i.e.
upper and lower limits on the design variables, may also
be speciﬁed. The general optimization problem to be con
sidered here is therefore
minimize f ðxÞ; x ¼ ½x _{1} ; x _{2} ;
w.r.t. x
...
x _{n} ^{T} 2 R ^{n} ; ð54Þ
subject to the inequality and equality constraints:
g _{j} ðxÞ 
6 
0; 
j 
¼ 
1; 2; 
; m; 
ð55Þ 

h _{j} ðxÞ ¼ 
0; 
j ¼ 1; 2; 
; r ; 

and side constraints: 

i 
; n; 
where f(x), g _{j} (x) and h _{j} (x) are scalar functions of the real
column vector x. For generality equality constraints,
h _{j} (x) = 0, j = 1, 2,
...
, r are also speciﬁed, although they
are not explicitly imposed in this study. The optimum solu
tion is denoted by x ^{*} with associate optimum function
value f(x ^{*} ). Of course, the optimization of the unstiﬀened
shell can also be stated in the general form (54).
The formulation of the optimization problem in the
form (54), facilitates the discussion of the optimization
methods used in this study. In practice such problems are
usually solved by means of numerical optimization algo
rithms. Four diﬀerent algorithms are applied to the prob
lem at hand. As stated in the Introduction, this is done in
order to have conﬁdence in the ﬁnally computed optimum
design. It also allows for a comparison between the meth
ods with regard to accuracy and economy.
The four algorithms used here are all relatively new.
They are the gradientbased methods LFOPC, Dynamic
Q, ETOPC and the evolutionary Particle Swarm Optimiza
tion (PSO) algorithm. In solving the constrained problem
(55), each of these methods performs the unconstrained
minimization of a socalled penalty function, which
actually embodies the constraints. For example, if we only
consider inequality constraints in problem (55), the appro
priate penalty function is
m
F ðxÞ ¼ f ðxÞ þ ^{X} b _{j} g ðxÞ;
2
j
j¼1
ð56Þ
where b _{j} = 0 if g _{j} (x) 6 0, and b _{j} = l if g _{j} (x) > 0 where l is a
very large number.
6.2. Optimization algorithms
The optimization algorithms used in this study are pre
sented here. Since the relatively new gradientbased local
optimization methods have all been well documented, only
brief discussions of them are given here. A little more is
said about the global PSO algorithm. Although the latter
method has been widely used over the past ten years, it is
surprising how poorly the essentials of the method are pre
sented in the general literature. It is therefore decided to
K. Ja´ rmai et al. / Computers and Structures 84 (2006) 787–797
793
include here, a short but more rigorously detailed presenta
tion of the basic PSO algorithm. This may be of interest to
the uninitiated, since it attempts to convey the essentials of
the method in a simple but precise pseudocode, which can
easily be implemented on a computer.
6.2.1. The gradientbased algorithms
(i) The LFOPC leapfrog optimization algorithm for
constrained optimization [3], uses a dynamic trajec
tory technique for the unconstrained minimization
[1,2] of the penalty function F(x) (see deﬁnition
(56)), in order to obtain the solution of the associated
constrained optimization problem. The trajectory
seeks the optimum by simulating the motion of a par
ticle in ndimensional space, where F(x) represents the
potential energy of the particle. The generated tra
jectory is monitored and an intermittent damping
procedure is applied to the particle to ensure its con
vergence to a local minimum. An outstanding charac
teristic of the basic method is that it uses only
function gradient information, so that no explicit
function line searches are performed. It has been pro
ven to be extremely reliable and robust in solving
many practical engineering design problems [4,15,16].
(ii) The DynamicQ optimization method [5] solves con
strained optimization problems by applying the
LFOPC trajectory method to a sequence of very sim
ple spherically quadratic subproblems. The functions
used in the subproblems are twopoint approxima
tions of the original objective and constraint func
tions. In constructing the approximations, use is
made of the value of the function and its gradient vec
tor at the current point, and its function value at the
previous point. Because this method has been found
to converge quickly after relatively few subproblems
[17], it is very economic when applied to problems
where the functions are extremely expensive to com
pute, i.e. where costly computer simulations are
required in order to evaluate the functions.
(iii) The ETOPC algorithm [6] is a new implementation of
the conjugate gradient method (both the Fletcher–
Reeves and Polak–Ribiere versions) for solving
constrained problem. The essential novelty in this
implementation is the use of gradientonly line
searches, originally proposed by one of the authors
[18] in 1985. This conjugate gradient algorithm that
uses gradientonly line searches, has been proven to
be highly accurate and more reliable than standard
implementations, when applied to the solution of con
strained problems via the sequential unconstrained
minimization technique (SUMT). Although not of
particular importance in the current application, where
the functions can be computed very accurately, it has
been shown that this algorithm, when using ﬁnite dif
ference gradients in the line searches, easily overcomes
the problem of severe numerical noise in the functions.
6.2.2. The Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) algorithm
Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) techniques belong
to a relatively new class of evolutionary based search pro
cedures that may be used to ﬁnd the optimum solution x
*
of the general optimization problem. The original PSO
algorithm, proposed by Kennedy and Eberhardt in 1995
[7], was inspired by the modelling of the social behaviour
patterns of organisms that live and interact within large
groups. In particular, PSO incorporates swarming behav
iours observed in ﬂocks of birds, schools of ﬁsh, or swarms
of bees. A PSO algorithm is easy to implement in most pro
gramming languages, since the core of the program can be
written in a few lines of code. It has been proven to be both
fast and eﬀective, when applied to a diverse set of optimi
zation problems. PSO algorithms are especially useful for
parameter optimization in continuous, multidimensional
search spaces.
In performing a search in the multidimensional space
associated with the optimization problem of the form
(54), the PSO technique assigns direction vectors and veloc
ities to each member (particle) of the swarm at their current
positions. Each particle then ‘‘moves’’ or ‘‘ﬂies’’ through
the search space according to the particle’s assigned veloc
ity vector, which may be inﬂuenced by the directions and
velocities of other particles in its neighbourhood. These
localized interactions with neighbouring particles, propa
gate through the entire ‘‘swarm’’ of particles and results
in the swarm as a whole moving to regions of the space clo
ser to the solution of problem (54). The extent to which a
particular particle inﬂuences other particles is determined
by its socalled ‘‘ﬁtness’’ along its trajectory of candidate
solution points. The ‘‘ﬁtness’’ is a measure assigned to each
potential solution, and it indicates how good a particular
candidate solution is relative to all other solution points.
Hence, an evolutionary idea of ‘‘survival of the ﬁttest’’
(in the sense of Darwinian evolution) comes into play,
as well as a social behaviour component through a ‘‘follow
the local leader’’ eﬀect and emergent pattern formation [9].
A more precise and detailed description of the particular
PSO algorithm used in this study now follows.
Basic PSO Algorithm
(1) Given M, k _{m}_{a}_{x} , N _{m}_{a}_{x} . Set (time) instant k = 0,
F ^{b} ¼ F ^{g} ¼ F
i
^{g} ¼ 1. Initialise a random popula
_{b}_{e}_{f}_{o}_{r}_{e}
tion (swarm) of M particles (swarm members), by
assigning an initial random position x ^{0} (candidate
i
solution), as well as a random initial velocity v ^{0} , to
i
each particle i, i = 1, 2,
...
, M. Then compute simulta
neous trajectories, one for each particle, by perform
ing the following steps.
(2) At instant k, compute the ﬁtness of each individual
particle i at discrete point x ^{k} , by evaluating F ðx ^{k} Þ.
i
i
With reference to the minimization (54), the lower
the value of F ðx ^{k} Þ, the greater the particle’s ﬁtness.
i
(3) For i = 1, 2,
...
, M:
if F ðx ^{k} Þ 6 F ^{b} then set F ^{b} ¼ F ðx ^{k} Þ
i
i
i
i
point on trajectory i},
and p ^{b} ¼ x ^{k} {best
i
i
794 K. Ja´ rmai et al. / Computers and Structures 84 (2006) 787–797
(4)
(5)
if F ðx ^{k} Þ 6 F ^{g} then set
i
global point}.
F ^{g} ¼ F ðx ^{k} Þ and g ^{b} ¼
i
x ^{k} {best
i
If
If
F ^{g} < F ^{g}
then set
N = 1, else set N =N + 1.
N > N _{m}_{a}_{x} or k > k _{m}_{a}_{x} then STOP and set x ^{*} = g ^{b} ;
before
else continue.
(6) Compute new velocities and positions for instant
k + 1, using the rule:
for i = 1, 2,
...
, M:
_{v}
k þ1
i
:¼ v ^{k} þ c _{1} r _{1} ðp ^{b} x ^{k} Þ þ c _{2} r _{2} ðg ^{b} x ^{k} Þ
i
i
i
i
_{x}
k þ1
i
:¼ x ^{k}
i
_{þ} _{v} k þ1
i
ð57Þ
ð58Þ
where r _{1} and r _{2} are independently generated random
numbers in the interval [0, 1], and c _{1} , c _{2} are parame
ters with appropriately chosen values.
^{g}
(7) Set k = k + 1 and F _{b}_{e}_{f}_{o}_{r}_{e}
¼ F ^{g} ; go to step 2.
All four continuous optimization methods presented in
this section were used in an adaptive manner in order to
accommodate the discrete nature of the design variables
to be used in the ﬁnal manufacturing of the truss member.
In particular, for the particle swarm method, the discreti
zation procedure was as follows. Starting from the opti
mum continuous values, the secondary search chooses
the nearest discrete sizes for each continuous variable from
the series of discrete values. The number of chosen discrete
sizes for one continuous variable can be two, three or
more. The possible variations can be obtained using
binary, ternary or larger systems. In the example consid
ered here we use the binary system, two discrete sizes,
upper and lower, associated with each continuous vari
able. In the binary system the digit 0 is taken to indicate
the upper discrete size, and the digit 1 indicates the lower
value. The ﬁrst 2n numbers in binary system give all the
possible variations. Each possibility is tested for whether
the explicit and implicit constraints are satisﬁed, and the
optimal values minimizing the merit function are thus
determined.
Details of the discretization procedures for the other
algorithms are given together with the presentation of the
optimization results in Section 7.2.1.
7. Numerical optimization results
7.1. Numerical data
The actual numerical values used in this study of the
quantities deﬁned in Sections 4 and 5 are as follows:
The speciﬁc density of steel is
taken as q = 7.85 · 10 ^{} ^{6}
kg/mm ^{3} . The loading is speciﬁed by N _{F} = 5.4 · 10 ^{7} N and
p _{F} = 1.5 MPa. The values of the remaining data used are:
L = 15 m, R = 1850 mm, f _{y} = 355 MPa, E = 2.1 · 10 ^{5}
MPa, m = 0.3. The cost factor values are k _{M}_{1} = k _{M}_{2} = 1.0
$/kg, k _{F} = 1.0 $/min and k _{P} = 14.4 · 10 ^{} ^{6} $/mm ^{2} .
As already stated in the previous section, the design
variables are x = [x _{1} , x _{2} ,
...
, x _{n} ] ^{T} = [t, n _{s} , n _{r} , h _{r} , h] ^{T} (rolled
Isection). In order to do the computations with continu
ous values, the geometric characteristics of an UB section,
namely (t _{w} , b, t _{f} , h) are approximated by curveﬁtting func
tions (Table Curve 2D [19]) giving
t f ¼
p ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
33:20534 þ 6:701288 10 ^{} ^{4} h ^{2} ;
b ¼
q ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
5851:785 þ 1:671844 10 ^{} ^{2} h lnðhÞ ;
t w ¼
q ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
15:62577 þ 4:358947 10 ^{} ^{5} h ^{2} lnðhÞ ;
h _{1} ¼ h 2t _{f} .
ð59Þ
ð60Þ
ð61Þ
ð62Þ
Practical considerations restrict the ﬁnal values that of the
design variables may assume. The thicknesses t may as
sume any integer mm value. The height of the ring stiﬀeners
h _{r} is restricted to steps of 10 mm. For the UB sections,
according to the ARBED catalogue, the only acceptable
values for h are 152, 203, 254, 305, 356, 406, 457, 533,
610, 686, 762, 838, 914 mm [20].
7.2. Results for the orthogonally stiﬀened cylindrical shell
member
7.2.1. Results using the gradientbased algorithms
In addition to the speciﬁc inequality constraints (1), (9),
(22), (28), (29), the following side constraints were also
imposed: 4 6 t 6 40; 0 6 n _{s} 6 40; 0 6 n _{r} 6 40; 136 6 h _{r} 6
510; 152 6 h 6 914. All three gradientbased local optimi
zation algorithms, LFOPC, DynamicQ and ETOPC (see
Section 6.2.1), gave the identical continuous solution shown
in Table 1a. Indeed, throughout, the results for the three
methods are identical.
This solution satisﬁed all constraints. However, since n _{s}
and n _{r} can only assume integer values, the continuous val
ues were rounded up to 27 and 9, respectively, and the min
imization was repeated, but this time with variables n _{s} = 27
and n _{r} = 9 ﬁxed, and the others having starting values as
listed in Table 1a. The results are given in Table 1b.
Again this solution satisﬁes all the constraints. However,
practical availability considerations further restrict the val
ues that are acceptable. Thickness may assume any integer
mm value. Thus t is obviously rounded up to 14. The
height of the ring stiﬀeners is restricted to steps of
10 mm, and therefore h _{r} is rounded up to 260. Since the
continuous solution, 207.7, is very close to 203, the height
h = 203 mm is selected. However, this solution slightly vio
lates the normalized constraint (9) with 7.4 · 10 ^{} ^{3} and
Table 1a Results for the continuous problem
t (mm)
n _{s}
n _{r}
h _{r} (mm)
h (mm)
K ($)
13.8
26. 9
8.4
260.3
223.9
54444.4
Table 1b Results for the discrete number of stiﬀeners
t (mm)
n _{s}
n _{r}
h _{r} (mm)
h (mm)
K ($)
13.9
27
9
254.5
207.7
54511.4
K. Ja´ rmai et al. / Computers and Structures 84 (2006) 787–797
795
Table 2 Discrete optimization results for (n _{s} , n _{r} ) = (27, 9) ﬁxed
t (mm)
n _{s}
n _{r}
h _{r} (mm)
h (mm)
K ($)
14
27
9
270
203
55342.9
f ^{*} = K = 54808.6. If this design is rejected, the most reason
able other choice is to increase h _{r} to the next allowable
value of 270. This candidate design satisﬁes all the con
straints and its details are listed in Table 2. Note that the
added cost due to discretization is 1.5% compared to the
cost of the continuous solution in Table 1b, and 0.5% for
the rejected discretized solution. Thus, if the latter is
accepted it would represent a saving of 534$ per unit.
Summarizing, the ﬁnal discrete solution is obtained by
starting with the overall continuous solution in Table 1a,
and performing another continuous optimization but with
(n _{s} , n _{r} ) = (27, 9) ﬁxed. The resultant continuous solution is
then rounded to the nearest allowable discrete values.
To investigate the existence of possible better solutions
in the neighbourhood of the current candidate optimum
point, further computational experiments were performed.
Integer changes in the numbers of longitudinal stiﬀeners
(stringers) n _{s} and number of ringstiﬀeners n _{r} , will clearly
signiﬁcantly aﬀect the optimum solution if, with their val
ues ﬁxed, the optimization is carried out with respect to
the other variables. A sensible local search is therefore:
for each of the eight nearest integer neighbours to of the
point (n _{s} , n _{r} ) = (27, 9) in the plane, determine the optimum
continuous values of the remaining variables, and then
round each to its nearest allowable discrete value. The
results are summarized in Table 3. The last column lists
the maximum violation of the normalized constraints,
together with the corresponding constraint number in the
text.
The only new feasible solution found is listed in bold in
the ﬁrst line of Table 3. This design gives an almost identi
cal cost (0.03% lower) than for the ﬁrst found candidate
solution. The optimization procedure was also repeated
for the choices (n _{s} , n _{r} ) = (27, 11) and (26, 11), near the point
(27, 10) that gave the best design to date, but as shown in
Table 4, no further improved feasible design was found.
The ﬁnal discrete optimum solution is therefore taken
as: x ^{*} = [t = 14 mm, n _{s} = 27, n _{r} = 10, h _{r} = 250 mm,
h = 203 mm] ^{T} with optimum K ^{*} = 55326.3 $.
Table 4 Further discrete optimization results
t
(mm)
n _{s}
n _{r}
h _{r} (mm)
h (mm)
K ($)
Max constraint
violation (no)
14
14
14
27
27
26
11
11
11
240
240
240
152
203
152
54403.7
55810.3
54061.4
0.07 (2)
–
0.08 (2)
In computing the optimum solution the greatest expense
is in solving the initial continuous problem (see Table 1). In
comparison to the continuous solution, the computational
expense for the secondary discrete optimizations is small.
Typically, starting at the point x = [20, 20, 20, 200, 200] ^{T}
the number of function and/or gradient vector evaluations,
for each of the methods are as follows:
LFOPC: Requires 3450 gradient evaluations of the
objective and constraint functions.
DynamicQ: Requires 27 function and 27 gradient eval
uations of the objective and constraint functions; i.e. 27
simple spherically quadratic subproblems are solved.
ETOPC: Requires 1845 gradient evaluations of the
objective and constraint functions.
7.2.2. Results using the PSO algorithm
In this study the basic PSO algorithm is implemented
using the code written by Wood and Groenwold [21].
The cognitive learning coeﬃcient used is c _{1} = 2. The social
learning coeﬃcient is taken as c _{2} = 1.4. To check the eﬃ
ciency of the particle swarm global search, diﬀerent popu
lation sizes from M = 1 to M = 500
were used, with
starting points randomly generated in an appropriately
large region. The noimprovement termination criterion
(iterations) used is N _{m}_{a}_{x} = 10. The maximum allowable
number of function evaluations is k _{m}_{a}_{x} , = 100 000. The ori
ginal code was modiﬁed, by introducing a secondary dis
crete optimization procedure, in order to automatically
ﬁnd discrete solutions. Secondary discrete optimization is
described in [22].
The best continuous solution obtained, together with the
discrete solution are listed in Table 5. This discrete solution
corresponds exactly with the previous discretiszed solution
found (listed in Table 2), following on the continuous solu
tion obtained in Section 7.2.1 using the gradientbased
local optimizers.
Table 3 Discrete optimization results for various ﬁxed (n _{s} , n _{r} ) combinations
t (mm)
n _{s}
n _{r}
h _{r} (mm)
h (mm)
K ($)
Max. constraint violation (no) – 0.19 (28) 0.02 (1) 0.07 (28) 0.06 (28) 0.00 (30) 0.00 (30) 0.01 (30)
14
15
14
14
14
19
26
38
27
27
26
26
26
28
28
28
10
8
10
9
8
10
9
8
250
250
250
250
260
240
240
260
203
203
203
203
254
152
152
152
55326.3
56243.4
54930.9
53968.5
55027.3
64463.4
78866.1
104763.9
796 K. Ja´ rmai et al. / Computers and Structures 84 (2006) 787–797
Table 5 Results for the 5 variables: continuous and discrete solutions (M = 500)
t (mm) 
n _{s} 
n _{r} 
h _{r} (mm) 
h (mm) 
K ($) 
13.82 
26.85 
8.31 
260.96 
225.79 
54444.62 (cont.) 
27 
270 
203 
55342.9 (disc.) 
Table 6 Solutions for 4 variables, with the number of stringer stiﬀeners respectively ﬁxed at n _{s} = 23, 24, 25, 26
t (mm) n _{s} (ﬁxed) n _{r} 
h _{r} (mm) 
h (mm) 
K ($) 
26 9 
254 
56042.3 

25 8 
254 
57142.7 

24 9 
203 
55724.8 

23 8 
254 
56705.9 
Table 7 Solutions for 4 variables, with the number of ring stiﬀeners respectively ﬁxed at n _{r} = 7, 8, 10, 11
t (mm) 
n _{s} n _{r} (ﬁxed) 
h _{r} (mm) 
h (mm) 
K ($) 
26 7 
305 
56764.1 

26 
270 
254 
55501.3 

27 
250 
203 
55326.3 (disc.) 

13.91 
27.51 10.00 
246.47 
186.21 
54701.7 (cont.) 
14 
27 11 
240 
203 
55810.2 
Further experiments were performed with respectively
n _{s} , and n _{r} kept ﬁxed during the optimization. The discreti
zation results are as reported in Tables 6 and 7.
The only marginally improved discrete solution
obtained is listed in bold in the third row of Table 7. This
solution is obtained from discretizing the continuous solu
tion listed in the fourth row. This solution corresponds
exactly to the best solution obtained via the gradientbased
local optimizers in Section 7.2.1, and thus conﬁrms that
*
the computed global discrete optimum solution is: x =
[t = 14 mm, n _{s} = 27, n _{r} = 10, h _{r} = 250 mm, h = 203 mm] ^{T}
with optimum K ^{*} = 55326.3 $.
Typical computational cost in using the PSO algorithm
is as indicated in Table 8. Due to the random nature of the
starting positions of the particles, no run is identical to
another. The ranges given for the number of function eval
uations required per optimization run, and for the corre
Table 8 Representative range of number of function evaluations and range of optimum objective function value for continuous optimization found at diﬀerent number of particles
Number of 
Number of function 
K ($) 
particles M 
evaluations 

500 
26 184–100 000 
54444.4–56384.3 
250 
11 666–43 044 
54444.8–56384.5 
32 
2778–9861 
54450.0–57487.0 
16 
2231–8378 
54615.1–58057.2 
1 
2031–2816 
55384.8–77040.1 
sponding value of the objective function, are as
experimentally found over a large number (some hundreds)
of diﬀerent runs.
Table 8 shows that the eﬃciency and reliability of PSO
algorithm, increases gradually with population sizes. It is
remarkable that it could ﬁnd a relatively good solution
when only one particle was used. In that case, however,
the result cannot be taken to be reliable, as is evident
from the range of objective function values obtained. Com
paring the best continuous solution in Table 1 (cost
54444.4)$ with the best continuous PSO solution in Table
5 (cost 54444.6)$, shows that they are almost identical.
Comparing, however, the respective number of function
evaluations required, as is respectively indicated at the
end of Section 7.2.1 and in Table 8 above (LFOPC 3450
gradient evaluations, DynamicQ: 27 function and 27 gradi
ent evaluations, ETOPC 1845 gradient evaluations, and
PSO 60 000 function evaluations), it is clear that the gra
dientbased local algorithms are vastly superior with regard
to computational economy. Nevertheless, the results for
the PSO algorithm are important, because they conﬁrm
that the accurate local optimizers have indeed converged
in a globally optimal region.
7.3. Results for the unstiﬀened shell
Using the shell buckling constraint for the unstiﬀened
shell as deﬁned by expressions (42)–(47), it follows that
the constraint is satisﬁed if the shell thickness is
t = 50 mm. In this case the objective function, deﬁned
by (48) is K = 112131.3 $. Thus, a cost saving of 51% can
be achieved by the orthogonal stiﬀening of the shell
member.
8. Conclusions
The study shows that a practically viable and economi
cally advantageous design of a loaded shell member of a
platform truss may be obtained, by coupling a realistic
and accurate mathematical model of the member, to opti
mization algorithms. In particular, a minimum cost design,
from a material and manufacturing point of view, may be
achieved, whilst ensuring safety and feasibility of assembly
through the inclusion of stability and manufacturing con
straints in the optimization algorithms. The optimization
procedures allow for a choice to be made between a shell
member that is orthogonally stiﬀened by ring stiﬀeners
and stringers, and an unstiﬀened shell member.
The results show that if the member is stiﬀened, a cost
saving of more than 50%, compared to that of the unstiﬀ
ened shell, may be obtained. This is due to the fact that
stiﬀening allows the thickness of the shell to be reduced
to 14 mm, which represents a signiﬁcant material saving,
compared to the unstiﬀened shell that requires a minimum
thickness of 50 mm. This material saving overshadows the
increase in labour and welding costs associated with the
stiﬀening.
K. Ja´ rmai et al. / Computers and Structures 84 (2006) 787–797 797
This study emphasises the importance of using a multi
plealgorithm approach to solving practical optimization
problems. To ensure conﬁdence that the computed contin
uous optimal design is accurate, and indeed corresponds to
the global optimum, use was made of four conceptually dif
ferent optimization algorithms readily available and famil
iar to the authors. The ﬁrst three algorithms are local
optimizers and gave identical and clearly very accurate
results. To ensure that the optimum obtained by these local
optimizers corresponds to the global optimum, many inde
pendent applications of the relatively new PSO global opti
mization algorithm was also performed and with increasing
number of particles. Through these experiments the PSO
algorithm indicated with a very high probability that the
other, locally more accurate algorithms, did indeed con
verge to a globally optimal region.
Acknowledgements
The research work was supported by the Hungarian Sci
entiﬁc Research Foundation grants OTKA T38058, T37941.
The project was also supported by the HungarianSouth
African Intergovernmental S&T cooperation program
DAK 7/2002. The Hungarian funding is from the Research
and Technological Innovation Fund, and the South African
partner is the National Research Foundation.
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