Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Horea Ilies, Ramesh Malla

Field of Study

Mechanical Engineering


Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


There is growing interest in space agencies to design lunar habitats for different stages of habitation. In this work, we present a topology optimization method to design a class of these structures consisting of rigid space frames with elements transported from earth and assembled in situ. Since the space frame must be made of stock material for ease of transportation and assembly, this work employs the geometry projection method, which is a topology optimization technique that render designs made exclusively of geometric primitives. This work makes three contributions to the geometry projection method that are necessary for the design of rigid space frames. The first is accommodating designs where the frame struts are connected at their ends throughout the optimization, as opposed to using `floating' struts that can result in overlaps that are difficult to manufacture. The second is to consider a weighted sum of the structural compliances corresponding to multiple load cases as the objective for the optimization. The third contribution consists of the imposition of a constraint in the optimization to enforce a maximum strut length, which facilitates transportation. Several numerical examples demonstrate the effectiveness of the method in incorporating these three capabilities.

Major Advisor

Julian Norato