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2 - Ashby Method

2.6 - Multi-objective optimisation in

selection

Outline

Conflicting objectives
Multi-objective optimisation
Reaching a compromise
Value functions and exchange constants
Weighed-properties method
Case studies
Resources:
M. F. Ashby, Materials Selection in Mechanical Design Butterworth Heinemann, 1999
Chapter 9
M. F. Ashby, Multi-objective optimisation in material design and selection
Acta Materialia, vol. 48, pp. 359-369, 2000
M. M. Farag, Quantitative methods of materials selection
Handbook of Materials Selection (M. Kutz) Wiley & Sons, 2002, chap. 1

Real life often requires a compromise between

conflicting objectives:

Conflict arises because the choice that optimises one

metric of performance will not in general do the same for
the others.
Best choice is a compromise, optimising none but
pushing all as close to optimum as their interdependence
allows.

Conflicting objectives in design

Common design objectives, influencing choice of material, are:
Minimising mass (sprint bike; satellite components)
Minimising volume (mobile phone; minidisk player)
Objectives

Maximising energy density (flywheels, springs)

Minimising eco-impact (packaging)
Minimising cost (everything)

mass, m
cost, C

we wish to minimise both

(all other constraints being met)

and vice versa

Non-dominated solution (B):

no one other solution is better by
both metrics

Metric 1: mass m

Dominated solution (A):

some other solution is better by
both metrics

A Dominated
solution

B Non-dominated
solution

surface

Light

Solution: a viable choice,

meeting constraints, but not
necessarily optimum by either
criterion.

Heavy

Cheap

Metric 2: cost C

Expensive

Trade-off surface: the surface on which the non-dominated solutions lie

(also called the Pareto Front)
Three strategies for finding best compromise

Finding a compromise: Strategy 1

Use intuition to select a

Mass and cost of bicycles:

Solutions on or near the surface offer the
best compromise between mass and cost
Choose from among these; the choice
depends on how highly you value a light
bicycle -- a question of relative values

Heavy

Reformulate one of the

objectives as constraint,
setting an upper limit for it

Metric 1: mass m

surface

Optimum solution
minimising m

Good if you have budget limit

the best choice within budget

Light

Upper limit on C

Metric 2: cost C

Cheap

Expensive

But not a true optimisation -cost has been treated as a

constraint, not an objective.

Seek material with smallest V:

Evaluate V for each
solution, and rank
or

Metric 1: mass m

V = m + C

V2

read off solution with lowest V

V4

Contours of
constant V

Decreasing
values of V

Optimum solution,
minimising V

Cheap

plot on it contours of V
(lines of constant V have
slope -1/)

V3

V1

Light

Value Function V

Heavy

Metric 2: cost C

Expensive

Value lines are straight only if the scales are linear

For logarithmic scales the value lines are curved
log (
m + C) log m + log C



V = m + C
m = 1/ C + 1/ V

A linear relation, on log scales,

plots as a curve
Linear scales

mass, m

mass, m

Heavier

Heavier

Log scales

Decreasing
values of V

Cheap

Lighter

Lighter

-1/

cost, c

Expensive

Decreasing
values of V

cost, c

Cheap

Expensive

Exchange Constant

V = m + C

V
=
m C

The quantity is called an exchange constant -- it measures the

value of performance, here the value of saving 1 kg of mass.

Exchange constants for mass saving

Transport System: mass saving

( per kg)

0.5 to 1.5

5 to 20

100 to 500

500 to 2000

1000 to 9000

Case study: Casing for a minidisk player

Electronic equipment -- portable
computers, players, mobile phones
-- all miniaturised; many now less
than 12 mm overall thick
An ABS or Polycarbonate casing
has to be > 1mm thick to be stiff
enough for protection; casing
occupies 20% of the volume

Find best material for a stiff casing of minimum thickness and weight
Objective 1

Objective 2

Performance metrics for the casing

Function

Stiff casing
w

Constraints

Stiffness, S
48 E I
w t3
with
S=
I
=
12
L3
Klc > 15 MPa.m1/2

Objective 1

Minimise thickness t
1/ 3

Metric 1

S L3

t =

4Ew

Objective 2

Minimise mass m

1
E1/ 3

1/ 3

Metric 2
(from Part 2.3)

12 S w 2

m=

t
L
m = mass
w = width
L = length
= density
t = thickness
S = required stiffness
I = second moment of area
E = Youngs Modulus

L2 1/ 3 1/ 3
E
E

Relative performance metrics

We are interested here in substitution. Suppose the casing is

currently made of a material Mo (ABS).

The thickness of a casing made from an alternative material M,

differs (for the same stiffness) from one made of Mo by the factor
1/ 3

t
E
= o
to
E
The mass differs by the factor

m
E1/ 3
= 1/ 3 . o
mo
E o

to

and

m
mo

M0 = ABS:
0 = 1,2 Mg/m3
E0 = 2,4 GPa

Mass
ABS, m/mo
Massrelative
relative totoABS

10

Elastome rs

surface

constraints:

Cu-alloys

PTFE

Ni-alloys

K1c > 15
MPa.m 1/2

Ionomer
ABS

Ste els

PE

PC

Ti-alloys

Wood
suppressed

PMM A

Al-alloys

PP

Al-SiC Composite

Polyester

Nylon

Mg-alloys
CFRP
.
Polymer foams

GFRP

0.1

0.1

Thickness
relative to
Thickness
relative
toABS
ABS, t/to

10

The four sectors of a trade-off plot for substitution

Mass Mass
relative
to ABS, m/mo
rel ative to ABS

10

B. Thinner
but heavier
surface

D. Worse by
both metrics

Elastome rs

Cu-allo ys

PT FE

N i-allo ys
Ion omer
ABS

Steels

PE

PC

Ti-alloys

PM MA

Al-alloys

PP

Al-SiC Comp osite

Polye ster

Nylon

M g-alloys
C FRP
.
C.foams
Lighter
Polymer

GFR P

0.1

A. Better by
both metrics

but thicker

0 .1

10

Thickness relati ve to A BS

Thickness relative to ABS, t/to

Finding a compromise: CFRP, Al and Mg alloys all offer reduction in mass and thickness

M = CFRP:
= 1,5

E = 220 GPa
t/t0 = 0,22
m/m0 = 0,28

M = Al alloys:

Mass
relative to ABS, m/mo
Mass relative to ABS

10

Mg/m3

Elastomers

surface
Cu-alloys

PTFE

Ni-alloys

Ionomer
ABS

Steels

PE

PC

Ti-alloys

PMMA

Al-alloys

PP

Al-SiC Composite

Polyester

Nylon

Mg-alloys
CFRP

E = 75 GPa
t/t0 = 0,31
m/m0 = 0,68

.
Polymer foams

GFRP

= 2,6 Mg/m3
0.1

0.1

10

Thickness relative to ABS

Thickness
relative to ABS, t/to

Is material cost relevant? Probably not -- the case only weighs

a few grams. Volume and weight are much more valuable.

Case study: Air cylinders for trucks

Design goal: lighter, cheap air cylinders for trucks

t

Specification
Function

Pressure vessel

Objectives

Minimise mass
Minimise cost

Constraints

Free
variables

Pressure p

Dimensions L, R, pressure p, given

Must not corrode in water or oil
Working temperature -50 to +1000C
Safety: must not fail by yielding
Adequate toughness: K1c > 15 MPa.m1/2

Wall thickness, t;
Choice of material

2R

L
L = length
= density
p = pressure
t = wall thickness

Performance metrics for the air cylinder

Thin-walled pressure vessels are treated as membranes. The
approximation is reasonable when t < b/4
The stresses in the wall do not vary significantly with radial distance, r
r

p 2bL p b
=
2tL
t

r =
z =

pe + pi
p
=
2
2

p b2 pb
=
2bt 2t

t <
4

> 4
t

Performance metrics for the air cylinder

Volume of material in cylinder wall

Objective 1

m = 2R L t + 4R2t
2R

= 2R L t 1 +

Aspect ratio

Constraint

Objective 2
Metric 2

Pressure p

2R

pR
=
< y
t
Sf
Eliminate t to give:

Metric 1

m = 2 R 2 L (1 + Q ) p Sf
y
C = Cm m
C
C = 2 R 2 L (1 + Q ) p Sf m
y

L = length
= density
p = pressure
t = wall thickness
y= yield strength
Sf = safety factor
Q = aspect ratio 2R/L

Heavy

Finding a compromise: Value Function

Define locally linear
Value Function V

V2

V3

V4

Contours of
constant V

V1
Metric 1: mass m

V = m + C
Seek material with smallest V:
Evaluate V for each
solution, and rank

Light

or

Decreasing
values of V

Optimum solution,
minimising V

Metric 2: cost C

Cheap

plot on it contours of V
(lines of constant V have
slope -1/)

V
=
mC

read off solution with lowest V

Expensive

Exchange Constant
= 20/kg (trucks)

constraints:
K1c >15 MPa.m1/2
0.01

Tmin < 223 K
Water: good +
1e-3

Organics: good +

1e-4

1e-5

1e-6

Decreasing
values of V
1e-5

1e-4

1e-3

0.01

0.1

10

Relative performance metrics

This is a problem of substitution. The tank is currently made of a plain
carbon steel.
The mass m and cost C of a tank made from an alternative material M,
differs (for the same strength) from one made of Mo by the factors
C Cm y,o
=
.
Co y Cm,o o

m y,o

=
.
mo y o

o / y,o = 0.03

Cm, o o / y,o = 0.02

and

C
m
and
Co
mo

Mass relative
to plain
carbon
Density
/ Elastic
limit steel, m/mo

surface

10

constraints:
K1c >15 MPa.m1/2
C u-alloys

Zn-alloys

Tmin < 223 K
Water: good +
Organics: good +

Mild steel
Ni-alloys
High-C steel
Low alloy steel
Al-alloys

0 .1

Mg-alloys
Al-SiC Composite

0. 1

GFR P

CFR P
10

P rice * Density / Elastic limit

Cost relative
to plain carbon steel, C/Co

T i-alloys
10 0

Finding a compromise: the value function

Aluminium alloy and low alloy steels offer modest reductions in
mass at little or no increase in material cost (Region A - Better by
both metrics).
The lightest solutions are GFRP, CFRP and Titanium alloys, but at
a cost penalty -- is it worth it? Define a relative value function:

V = m + C

V
m m C
= 0
+
C0
C0 m0 C0

V* =

V
m
C
= *
+
Co
mo
Co

* =

mo

Co

With mo = 10 kg, Co = 50 and = 20/kg (trucks), * = 4 .

(a) evaluate V* numerically and rank candidates, or
(b) plot onto relative trade-off plot (lines of slope 1 )
4

V* = *

m
C
+
mo
Co
Value contour for * = 200 ( = 1000/kg)

10

surface
1

Cu-alloys

Zn-alloys

Mild steel
Ni-alloys
High-C steel
Low alloysteel
Al-alloys
Mg-alloys
V* Al-SiCComposite
GFRP

0.1

0.1

Mass relative
to plain
carbon
steel, m/m o
Density
/ Elastic
limit

Mass relative
to plain
carbon
steel, m/m o
Density
/ Elastic
limit

10

surface
1

Mild steel
Ni-alloys
High-C steel
Low alloysteel
Al-alloys
Mg-alloys
Al-SiC Composite
GFRP

0.1

CFRP Ti-alloys

10

Price *toDensity
Elastic limit
Cost relative
plain /carbon
steel, C/Co

100

Cu-alloys

Zn-alloys

V*

0.1

CFRP Ti-alloys

10

Price *toDensity
/ Elastic lim
it C/C
Cost relative
plain carbon
steel,
o

100

Multi-objective analysis: Weighted-Properties Method

Previous selection problems involved two conflicting
objectives -- often technical performance vs.
economic performance

Real design problems involve more than two

conflicting objectives
Weighted-Properties Method -- Each objective is
considered as a property to be optimised, and is
assigned a certain weight depending on its importance
to the production and performance of the part in service

Weighted-Properties Method: Compare alternative solutions

A weighted-property value is obtained by multiplying
the numerical value of the property (V) by the weighting
factor ().

The individual weighted-property values corresponding

to each material choice are then summed to give a
comparative performance index for each solution ().
n

= i Vi

where i is summed over all

the n relevant properties

i=1

Solutions with the higher performance index () are

considered more suitable for the application.

Weighted-Properties Method: Compare alternative solutions

In its simple form, the weighted-properties method has
the drawback of having to combine unlike units, which
could yield irrational results.

The property with higher numerical value will have

more influence than is warranted by its weighting factor.
This drawback is overcome by introducing scaling
factors. Each property is so scaled that its highest
numerical value does not exceed 100.

Weighted-Properties Method: Compare alternative solutions

For a given property, the scaled value (B) for a
given candidate solution is equal to:

B=

Numerical value of property V for the solution

x 100
Maximum value in the list of solutions to be compared

Scaled property
(property to
be maximised)

B=

Minimum value in the list of solutions to be compared

x 100
Numerical value of property V for the solution

Scaled property
(property to
be minimised)

n

= i Bi
i=1

v [dm3]

w [kg]

C []

BS 350

0,82

6,00

21,30

F3K20S

1,36

3,83

46,50

V1

V2

V3

B1

B2

B3

B=

Minimum value in the list of solutions to be compared

x 100
Numerical value of property V for the solution

Scaled property
(property to be minimised)

B1

B2

B3

BS 350

(0,82/0,82) x 100

(3,83/6,00) x 100

(21,30/21,30) x 100

F3K20S

(0,82/1,36) x 100

(3,83/3,83) x 100

(21,30/46,50) x 100

BS 350
F3K20S

Weighted-Properties Method: Analysis

Performance index for each solution () can be analyzed
varying the weighting factor () corresponding to each
scaled property (B).

= i B i
i=1

(Properties)

( 3/10 = 0.3 )

= 1.0