Development of the Market's Lightest Backcountry Ski Binding - A Study on Structural Optimization
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The aim of this thesis Development of the Market s Lightest Backcountry Ski Binding is to see how topology optimization can be used to create a light weight and stiff ski binding. Sports equipment is getting lighter and lighter, making it increasingly important to use material as effectively as possible. Topology optimization is not a new technology, but the rapid development of constraint free production methods, like additive manufacturing, creates new possibilities which now makes topology optimization more relevant in mechanical engineering than ever. This thesis firstly examines the mountain ski binding market, user scenarios and relevant design variables. In the second stage, a set of optimizations are done to gain knowledge and experience, to define the test setup and to ensure that the optimized results will be as realistic as possible. Further, a set of models with different combinations of design variables (boundary conditions and design space dimensions) are topology optimized. The results are tested for both static and cyclic loading and redesigned to reduce von Mises stresses and increase the fatigue life. Prototypes are then manufactured and tested to verify the design. The result is a binding with a weight of 26.70 grams, which is lower than the current market leader. Including the design variables in the optimization halved the strain energy, thus making the binding stiffer, from the initial topology optimizations. Several topology optimization cases are studied and in many of these a fixed setup is topology optimized, leaving boundary conditions and design space dimensions unchanged in the analysis although there is a huge potential in optimizing these as well. These discoveries result in the categorization of three different approaches and the identification of several limitations which are discussed in the paper State of the Art of Generative Design and Topology Optimization and Potential Research Needs (Tyflopoulos, Flem, Steinert, & Olsen, 2018). This paper was accepted at the NORDESIGN 2018 conference.