CAD interface and framework for curve optimisation applications
Computer Aided Design is currently expanding its boundaries to include more design features in its processes. Design is identified as an iterative process converging to solutions satisfying a set of constraints. Its close relation with optimisation indicate that there is strong potential for the integration of optimisation and CAD. The problem addressed in this thesis lies in interfacing the geometric representation of design with other non-geometric aspects. The example of free-form curve modelling is taken to investigate such relationships. Assumptions are made that Optimisation is powered by Evolutionary Computing algorithms like Genetic Algorithms (GA). The geometric definition of curves is commonly supported by NURBS, whose construction constraints are defined locally at the data points. Here the NURBS formulation is used with GA in an attempt to provide complementary handles on the curves shape other than the usual data point coordinates and control points weights. Differential properties are used for optimising NURBS, Hermite interpolation allows for the definition of higher order constraints (tangent, normal, bi-normal) at data points. The assignment of parameter values at the data points, known as parameterisation also provides control of the curve’s shape. Curve optimisation is also performed at the geometric modelling level. Old mathematical theorems established by Frénet and further developed by other mathematicians provide means of defining a curve’s shape with it’s intrinsic equations. Such representation is possible by using Function Representation (F-rep) algebra available in the ACIS software. Frep allows more generic and exact means of interfacing with the curve’s geometry and new functionality for curve inspection and optimisation are proposed in this thesis. The integration of optimisation findings and CAD are documented in the definition of a framework. The framework architecture proposed reconstructs a new CAD environment from separate elements bolted together in a generic Application Programming Interface (API) named “Oli interface”. Functionality created to interface optimisation and CAD makes a requirement list of the work that both sides should undertake to achieve design optimisation in the CAD environment.