Altair® OptiStruct® Applications

For more than two decades OptiStruct topology optimization has driven the lightweight and structurally efficient designs of products you see and use every day. Topology optimization generates an optimal design proposal based on a user-defined design space, performance targets, and manufacturing constraints. For thin-walled structures, beads, or swages OptiStruct topography optimization generates the pattern and location for optimal panel stiffness or frequency response. OptiStruct free-size optimization is used to locate tailor-welded blanks and identify the optimal ply shapes in laminate composites. Advanced features including multi-model, multi-material, failsafe optimization extend OptiStruct’s optimization leadership.

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Optimization for Design Refinement

Optimal material properties, cross-sectional dimensions, and gauges can be determined through OptiStruct size optimization. OptiStruct shape optimization uses shape variables that are generated with Altair® HyperWorks® morphing to improve an existing design. OptiStruct free-shape optimization is an Altair proprietary technique for non-parametric shape optimization. It automatically generates shape variables and determines optimal shape contours with requiring the definition of shape variables. Not only does free-shape optimization introduce greater scope for design improvements, it is also very effective in reducing high-stress concentrations.

Advanced Materials and Manufacturing

OptiStruct provides a unique three-step process for laminate composites design and optimization that delivers optimal ply shapes, number of plies, and ply stacking sequence. The process observes composite manufacturing constraints, including ply drop-off, for faster ply-based design. Additive manufacturing (AM) methods are well suited to topology optimization and Optistruct provides AM specific manufacturing constraints. When extreme lightweight, thermal performance, or biomedical applications require lattice structures, OptiStruct provides a unique solution for their design based on topology optimization.

Vibration and Acoustics

OptiStruct structural dynamic analyses include normal modes, frequency response (direct and modal), transient response (direct and modal), random response, response spectrum, radiated sound analysis, and rotor dynamics. Advanced noise and vibration functionality provides one-step transfer path analysis (TPA), power flow analysis, model reduction techniques (CMS and CDS super elements), design sensitivities, and an equivalent radiated power (ERP) design criterion to optimize structural performance. The OptiStruct solver includes automated multilevel sub-structuring eigen solver (AMSES) which can rapidly calculate thousands of modes with millions of degrees of freedom, and OptiStruct FAST frequency response (FASTFR) as an alternate and faster modal solution method.

Nonlinear Events and Materials

OptiStruct solves a comprehensive range of nonlinear problems using both implicit and explicit methods that includes simulation of small and large displacements, material nonlinearity, and advanced contacts. It uses a modern solver implementation that delivers the functionality that customers of traditional nonlinear implicit codes expect. OptiStruct models the nonlinear elasticity of rubber and other hyperelastic materials, in addition to elasto-plastic, gasket, viscoelastic, creep, and user-defined materials. Friction in sliding contacts, frequency-dependent, and poro-elastic material properties are also supported. Preload buckling, post buckling static, and transient analysis using nonlinear results with OptiStruct streamline workflows by analyzing and optimizing attributes from multiple disciplines (strength, vibration, fatigue) using a single model.

Fatigue and Durability

OptiStruct offers stress-life and strain-life fatigue analysis with uni-axial and multi-axial loading plus topology, topography, size, and shape optimization with fatigue constraints. HyperWorks® provides user-friendly workflows for fatigue life predictions under static and transient loading across a wide range of industrial applications, supported by the Altair® Material Data Center™. Few special vibration methods include sine sweep, and random vibration fatigue. A single model multi-attribute analysis and optimization workflow with OptiStruct allows faster exploration of design iterations by saving engineering time, eliminating the wasteful work of creating multiple models or the tedium of model conversion, and removing modeling inconsistencies between attribute models.


OptiStruct has the capability to solve both the thermal and mechanical physics in a single simulation including a one-step transient thermal stress analysis. Engineers can understand how parts behave under real world conditions whether they need linear or nonlinear steady-state, linear transient analysis, or contact-based thermal analysis. OptiStruct also provides kinematics and dynamics solutions with loads extraction and effort estimation with an equivalent static load method (ESLM) allowing optimization of system level multi-body dynamic models with simultaneous optimization of flexible and rigid bodies. Coupled fluid-structure (vibro-acoustics) analysis and coupled thermo-mechanical analysis further expand detailed simulation capabilities. OptiStruct in a capacity of structural solver interacts with Altair CFD solvers for practical FSI, thermal FSI and direct coupling FSI which are uni-directional or bi-directional coupling. Similarly, OptiStruct couples in uni-directionally with electromagnetic solvers including Altair® Flux® and Altair® Feko®.

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