When designing an engineering part, better decisions are made by exploring the entire space of design variations. This design space exploration (DSE) may be accomplished manually or via optimization. In engineering, evaluating a design during DSE often consists of running expensive simulations, such as finite element analysis (FEA) in order to understand the structural response to design changes. The computational cost of these simulations can make thorough DSE infeasible, and only a relatively small subset of the designs are explored. Surrogate models have been used to make cheap predictions of certain simulation results. Commonly, these models only predict single values (SV) that are meant to represent an entire part's response, such as a maximum stress or average displacement. However, these single values cannot return a complete prediction of the detailed nodal results of these simulations. Recently, surrogate models have been developed that can predict the full field (FF) of nodal responses. These FF surrogate models have the potential to make thorough and detailed DSE much more feasible and introduce further design benefits. However, these FF surrogate models have not yet been applied to real engineering activities or been demonstrated in DSE contexts, nor have they been directly compared with SV surrogate models in terms of accuracy and benefits.This thesis seeks to build confidence in FF surrogate models for engineering work by applying FF surrogate models to real DSE and engineering activities and exploring their comparative benefits with SV surrogate models. A user experiment which explores the effects of FF surrogate models in simple DSE activities helps to validate previous claims that FF surrogate models can enable interactive DSE. FF surrogate models are used to create Goodman diagrams for fatigue analysis, and found to be more accurate than SV surrogate models in predicting fatigue risk. Mode shapes are predicted and the accuracy of mode comparison predictions are found to require a larger amount of training samples when the data is highly nonlinear than do SV surrogate models. Finally, FF surrogate models enable spatially-defined objectives and constraints in optimization routines that efficiently search a design space and improve designs.The studies in this work present many unique FF-enabled design benefits for real engineering work. These include predicting a complete (rather than a summary) response, enabling interactive DSE of complex simulations, new three-dimensional visualizations of analysis results, and increased accuracy.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





surrogate models, design space exploration, finite element analysis, fatigue life, modal analysis, optimization