Topology Optimization

Learn about topology optimization, shape optimization, and generative design. Explore how you can improve design processes with Autodesk Nastran In-CAD topology optimization and Fusion 360 shape optimization software.

Topology optimization definition

What is topology optimization?

Topology optimization is an algorithmic process that reveals the most efficient design based on a set of constraints or characteristics, often by removing material from the design. It concerns the number of connected components/boundaries belonging to the domain. Topological optimization techniques help users work around the limitations of pure shape optimization.

Product Design Manufacturing Collection

Improve design processes with topology optimization

Topology optimization usually occurs near the end of the design process, typically when you run into weight emergency or need to reduce material costs. It is a mathematical method that uses simulation technology to predict performance without the need to interpret simulation results. Topology optimization technology automatically makes the changes required to improve the design.

How topology optimization is used

Use topology optimization algorithms to develop a variety of complex engineering and design solutions.

Improve strength-to-weight ratios with light weighting


Improve strength-to-weight ratios by removing excess material that is not necessary for the design’s performance requirements.

Help inform geometry decisions with shape optimization

Shape optimization

Shape optimization technology helps inform certain geometry decisions to specific constraints such as manufacturing methods.

Structural compliance tools

Structural compliance

Calculate the physical response of a given shape, depending on the forces the shape is subjected to.

Multiphysics designs with topology optimization

Multiphysics designs

Incorporate multiple types of physical phenomena such as fluid-structure interaction, thermal transfer, and stress loads to calculate optimal design.

The history of topology optimization

Biomedical origins

Early uses of topology optimization

Topology optimization was first used in the biomedical field for modeling implants to match the human skeletal structure. It then became widespread in aerospace. It is now used across advanced manufacturing industries.

Autodesk generative design provides designers and engineers with a full design exploration solution

Accelerate your product development process

Get multiple manufacturing-aware CAD-ready solutions integrated into your favorite CAD tool with Autodesk generative design.


Shape optimization in fusion 360

In this hands-on tutorial session, learn how to design critical parts using shape optimization on the cloud within Fusion 360. 



Topology optimization in nastran in-cad

This presentation explores the newly developed topology optimization technology used in Autodesk Nastran In-CAD software, available in the Product Design & Manufacturing Collection.


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