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OptiStruct Overview

OptiStruct is an industry proven, modern structural analysis solver for linear and nonlinear problems under static and dynamic loadings. It is the market-leading solution for structural design and optimization.

OptiStruct Introduction Video Watch this quick introduction video to learn how OptiStruct can help you.

OptiStruct helps Euro-Pro improve product performance and durability Static analysis with OptiStruct unveils weak spots on plastic parts, before they are produced. Read the Euro-Pro Case Study
Based on finite-element and multi-body dynamics technology, and through advanced analysis and optimization algorithms, OptiStruct helps designers and engineers rapidly develop innovative, lightweight and structurally efficient designs.

Continuing to build on its 20 year legacy of providing innovative optimization technology first-to-market, OptiStruct offers novel solutions for the design and optimization of 3D printed lattice structures and advanced materials such as laminate composites, in keeping up with the latest manufacturing trends like additive manufacturing, while driving design trends.

OptiStruct is used by thousands of companies worldwide to analyze and optimize structures for their strength, durability and NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) characteristics.

“By using OptiStruct in the product’s initial design period to carry out topography optimization for several major parts, our products can effectively avoid the constant experimenting, avoid the occurrence of resonance, shorten design cycles and improve product quality.”
–Zhifeng Xin, Director Mechanical/Thermal/Simulation/M&M
Lenovo Notebook Product Development

View Case Study


Accurate and Comprehensive Physics

An inaccurate simulation is one not worth performing. This becomes more important when designs are being driven and optimized based on simulation results. Therefore, at Altair, we strive to develop accurate and comprehensive analysis solutions that capture the behavior of products in the everyday environment that they are developed to exist in.

Highly Parallelized Solver

OptiStruct is a highly parallelized solver that is able to take advantage of the latest hardware technology. Through methods such as domain decomposition, OptiStruct can be executed on hundreds of cores. This has even bigger implications in the larger design development scheme, allowing engineers the ability to perform large scale optimization runs, design for reliability and robustness, and carry out design exploration studies via design of experiments and so on.

Most Advanced Solver for NVH Analysis

OptiStruct supports the most advanced features and process workflows necessary for efficient and effective noise, vibration, harshness and acoustic analyses. Through innovative process workflows, full vehicle NVH analyses can be performed very quickly and efficiently.

Better Performing, Lightweight and Innovative Designs

The strategic use of appropriate optimization technology throughout the design process maximizes the potential for designers and engineers to rapidly develop better performing designs. Through these advanced optimization algorithms in OptiStruct, often, better performance comes along with a reduction in weight through the development of an innovative design concept.

Optimization Enabled Solution

Optimize! Optimize! Optimize! The most efficient way to meet the many, often conflicting and challenging design requirements in a timely and economical manner is through the application of optimization in the design process. Simulation needs to drive the design process. Therefore, the OptiStruct development strategy of enabling analysis solutions for optimization stands out as one of our differentiators, while empowering clients with the best technology to develop the best designs.

20 Year Legacy of Award Winning Optimization Technology

For over 20 years now, OptiStruct has lead the development of new and innovative optimization technology. This includes many first-to-market technologies such as stress and fatigue based topology optimization, topology driven design for 3D printed lattice structures, and technologies for the design and optimization of laminate composite structures among others. OptiStruct provides the most comprehensive library of optimization responses and manufacturing constraints allowing the needed flexibility to formulate the widest range of optimization problems.

Seamless Integration into Existing Processes

Integrated in HyperWorks, OptiStruct can help significantly reduce corporate spending on competitive solver technology. Furthermore, utilizing existing pre- and post-processing environments with superior analysis workflows, OptiStruct can be seamlessly integrated in existing processes with minimum disruption.

Recover Valuable Engineering Time

Simplified and easy to understand error messages, combined with strict model checking contribute to more accurate simulation of design behavior. This allows more time for engineering instead of time spent model debugging as well as iterating due to modeling errors.

Easy to Learn

Using streamlined analysis workflows and the commonly understood Nastran input format, OptiStruct is very easy to learn and to have integrated in to existing processes.


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Car frame design with topology optimization Equivalent Radiated Power (ERP) Non-linear material Large Strain Plasticity for Solids Typical optimization process on VW compressor bracket Additive manufacturing project at EADS Topography optimization of a door panel Composites optimization
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Integrated Fast and Large Scale Eigenvalue Solver: A built-in, standard feature of OptiStruct in an Automated Multi-level Sub-structuring Eigen Solver (AMSES) that can rapidly calculate thousands of modes with millions of degrees of freedom.

Advanced NVH Analysis: OptiStruct provides unique and advanced functionality for NVH analysis including one-step TPA (Transfer Path Analysis), Powerflow analysis, model reduction techniques (CMS and CDS super elements), design sensitivities, and an ERP (Equivalent Radiated Power) design criterion to optimize structures for NVH.

Robust solver for nonlinear analysis and powertrain durability: OptiStruct has grown to support a comprehensive range of physics for powertrain analysis. This includes solutions for heat transfer, bolt and gasket modeling, hyperelastic materials, and efficient contact algorithms.

Creating Design Concepts

  • Topology optimization: OptiStruct uses topology optimization to generate innovative concept design proposals. OptiStruct generates an optimal design proposal based on a user-defined design space, performance targets, and manufacturing constraints. Topology optimization can be applied to 1-D, 2-D and 3-D design spaces.

  • Topography optimization: For thin-walled structures, beads or swages are often used as reinforcement features. For a given set of bead dimensions, OptiStruct's topography optimization technology will generate innovative design proposals with the optimal bead pattern and location for reinforcement to meet certain performance requirements. Typical applications include panel stiffening and managing frequencies.

  • Free-size optimization: Free-size optimization is widely applied in finding the optimal thickness distribution in machined metallic structures and identifying the optimal ply shapes in laminate composites. Element thickness per material layer is a design variable in free-size optimization.

Optimization for Design Fine-Tuning

  • Size optimization: Optimal model parameters such as material properties, cross-sectional dimensions, and gauges can be determined through size optimization.

  • Shape optimization: Shape optimization is performed to refine an existing design through user-defined shape variables. The shape variables are generated using the morphing technology – HyperMorph – available in HyperMesh.

  • Free-shape optimization: OptiStruct’s proprietary technique for non-parametric shape optimization automatically generates shape variables and determines optimal shape contours based on design requirements. This relieves users from the task of defining shape variables and allows for greater flexibility for design improvements. Free-shape optimization is very effective in reducing high-stress concentrations.

Design and Optimization of Laminate Composites: A unique 3-phase process has been implemented in OptiStruct to aid in the design and optimization of laminate composites. The process is based on a natural and easy-to-use ply based modeling approach. This also facilitates incorporating various manufacturing constraints, such as ply drop-off, specific to laminate composite design. Application of this process yields optimal ply shapes (phase 1), optimal number of plies (phase 2) and the optimal ply stacking sequence (phase 3).

Design and Optimization of Additively Manufactured Lattice Structures: Lattice structures offer many desirable characteristics such as lightweight and good thermal properties. They are also highly desirable in biomedical implants due to their porous nature and the ability to facilitate the integration of tissue with the trabecular structure. OptiStruct has a unique solution to design such lattice structures based on topology optimization. Subsequently, large scale sizing optimization studies can be run on the lattice beams while incorporating detailed performance targets such as stress, buckling, displacement and frequency.

Analysis and Feature Highlights

Stiffness, Strength and Stability

  • Linear and nonlinear static analysis with contact and plasticity

  • Large displacement analysis with hyperelastic materials

  • Fast contact analysis

  • Buckling analysis

Noise and Vibrations

  • Normal modes analysis for real and complex eigenvalue analysis

  • Direct and modal frequency response analysis

  • Random response analysis

  • Response spectrum analysis

  • Direct and modal transient response analysis

  • Preloading using nonlinear results for buckling, frequency response, and transient analysis

  • Rotor dynamics

  • Coupled fluid-structure (NVH) analysis

  • AMSES large scale eigenvalue solver

  • Fast large scale modal solver (FASTFR)

  • Result output at peak response frequencies (PEAKOUT)

  • One-step transfer path analysis (PFPATH)

  • Radiated sound analysis

  • Frequency-dependent and poro-elastic material properties

Powertrain Durability

  • 1D and 3D bolt pretension

  • Gasket modeling

  • Contact modeling and contact-friendly elements

  • Plasticity with hardening

  • Temperature dependent material properties

  • Domain decomposition

Heat Transfer Analysis

  • Linear and nonlinear steady-state analysis

  • Linear transient analysis

  • Coupled thermo-mechanical analysis

  • One-step transient thermal stress analysis

  • Contact-based thermal analysis

Kinematics and Dynamics

  • Static, quasi-static, and dynamic analysis

  • Loads extraction and effort estimation

  • Optimization of system and flexible bodies

Structural Optimization

  • Topology, topography, and free-size optimization

  • Size, shape, and free-shape optimization

  • Design and optimization of laminate composites

  • Design and optimization of additively manufactured lattice structures

  • Equivalent static load method

  • Multi-model optimization

Complementary Solutions

Inspire Inspire allows design engineers, product designers and architects to generate and investigate structurally efficient concepts quickly and easily. Inspire embeds Altair’s OptiStruct algorithms bringing topology optimization to a broader audience. Overview Video | Learn More
HyperMesh High-performance finite element pre-processor to prepare largest models, starting from import of CAD geometry to exporting an analysis run for various disciplines. Overview Video | Learn More
Multiscale Designer Multiscale Design is a software used for seamless integration of modeling, simulation, testing, uncertainty quantification and optimization of composite materials and structures at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Learn More
nCode DesignLife nCode DesignLife provides fatigue life prediction from finite element results to answer the question "how long will it last?" or "will it pass the test?" before prototyping. Overview Video | Learn More

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