In naval design it is common practice to define an internal regular web frame made of longitudinal elements and transversal sections with the purpose of giving stiffness to the whole structure and, at the same time, promoting lightness. In this work, FEM simulation and Topology Optimization (TO) tools are implemented to present a different approach in placing the reinforcements inside the hull of a sailing dinghy. The methodology proposed in this paper considers as a starting point the volume inside the hull and the deck completely filled with material and the result after the simulations is a free form shape of the sailboat reinforcements. The TO procedure is based on two different input FEM solutions: one is the result of a structural analysis on the boat loaded with real forces acting during navigation and the other one is the result of a modal analysis aimed to extract natural frequencies of the structure. The result must fulfil several requirements such as weight, stiffness and stress. TO models have been compared with a traditionally designed sailboat with the same total mass and relevant improvements have been obtained in terms of local stiffness and reduction of moments of inertia.
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