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**1 - 1**of**1**### DETC2008-50106 LAYER SEPARATION FOR OPTIMIZATION OF COMPOSITE LAMINATES

, 2008

"... ABSTRACT The excellent mechanical properties of laminated composites cannot be exploited without a careful design of stacking sequence of the layers. An important variable in the search of the optimum stacking sequence is the number of layers. The larger is this number, the harder as well as longer ..."

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ABSTRACT The excellent mechanical properties of laminated composites cannot be exploited without a careful design of stacking sequence of the layers. An important variable in the search of the optimum stacking sequence is the number of layers. The larger is this number, the harder as well as longer is the search for an optimal solution. To tackle efficiently such a variabledimensional problem, we introduce here a multi-level optimization technique. The proposed method, called Layer Separation (LS), increases or decreases the number of layers by gradually separating a layer into two, or by merging two layers into one. LS uses different levels of laminate representation ranging from a coarse level parameterization, which corresponds to a small number of thick layers, to a fine level parameterization, which corresponds to a large number of thin layers. A benefit of such differentiation is an increase of the probability of finding the global optimum. In this paper, LS is applied to the design of composite laminates under single and multiple loadings. The results show that LS convergence rate is not inferior to that of other optimization techniques available in the literature. It is faster than an evolutionary algorithm, more efficient than a layerwise method, simple to perform, and it has the advantage of possibility of termination at any point during the optimization process.