This thrust will develop a framework of common, shared theories and methodologies that merges advanced modeling and simulation techniques into a computational design optimization framework, building on the state-of-the-art from both. It will implement them into a computational platform to allow designers to systematically and efficiently exploit the vast design spaces created by today’s and tomorrow’s digital manufacturing technologies. This will provide designers with a suite of computational methods and tools to create designs that optimally utilize the freedom to arrange materials at increasing higher spatial resolution – today this is at the micron scale, but tomorrow it will be at the atomic scale. Our formalism will take advantage of the latest developments in modeling and with complex configurations of objectives, constraints, and optimization variables through the use of ever more powerful computational optimization algorithms. Our software architecture will include middleware and libraries as well as intuitive design interfaces to seamlessly connect engineering and architectural designers with contemporary, emerging, and future digital fabrication technologies to realize customized multifunctional products with unprecedented performance.  To achieve these goals, research within this theme is organised into three tightly-integrated thrusts:

1.1 – Multiphysics Modeling and Experiments

Building on our existing Multiphysics simulation capabilities, we will develop and experimentally validate new theory and simulation capabilities to describe the evolution of materials and their behaviour during various digital manufacturing processes, and then ultimately predict the resulting behaviour of 3D components. This will contribute to our long-term plans to create an integrated software platform for realistic simulation of digital manufacturing processes that will serve as a foundation for the digital connectivity across design and manufacturing. Indeed our long view is one that where a component is designed with the evolution of the material during the manufacturing process as part of the component. We will use our modeling capabilities to simulate actual processes in in polymer and metal 3D printing. An important aspect of our effort will be a close collaboration with industry partners including machine vendors (Stratays, EOS, Optomec) as well as manufacturers (Rolls Royce, ST Engineering, Vision Ease Lens) where they will provide real data regarding their materials, processes, and products that we can use in our models, simulations, and design tools.

Projects under 1.1

Photopolymer modeling


1.2 – Computational Design Technologies

We will create computational methodologies for digital design driven manufacturing that integrates the state-of –the-art in: i) multiphysics simulation, ii) integrated topology and shape optimization, and iii) computer graphics. Our proposed design methods and tools will continuously benefit from the latest developments in computational mechanics and physics, including solid and fluid mechanics, heat transfer, electrostatics, photochemistry, and electrochemistry which we will incorporate into our modeling and simulation approaches as necessary (thrust 1.1). Our initial focus will be on a particular design aspect at core of emerging digital fabrication technologies, namely the ability to manipulate material layout across a wide range of length scales to achieve a desired functional objective. Building on our extensive experience, we will develop Multiphysics, multimaterial topology optimization approaches with middleware to interface with contemporary tools, eg., Stratasys, 3D Systems, and EOS 3D printers, as well as new technologies that these machine vendors are creating (for example anisotropic materials being created by Stratasys) and our innovations that will emerge in Thrusts 2 and 3.

Projects under 1.2

Comp optimization – structural
Comp optimization – multi functional
Design for digital manufacturing


1.3 – Design and Manufacturing for Functionality and Aesthetics

Develop new theory, algorithms, and software to create artifacts that are simultaneously manufacturable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing; create computational design tools that have functional interfaces appropriate for various constituencies (e.g., architects, engineers, industrial designs) to enable rapid design exploration and prototyping.

Projects under 1.3

Evolutionary design
Design methodology for Digital Manufacturing