This paper describes an intuitive way of defining geometry design variables for solving structural topology optimization problems using an evolutionary algorithm (EA). The geometry representation scheme works by defining a skeleton which represents the underlying topology/connectivity of the continuum structure. As the effectiveness of any EA is highly dependent on the chromosome encoding of the design variables, the encoding used here is a graph which reflects this underlying topology so that the genetic crossover and mutation operators of the EA can recombine and preserve any desirable geometric characteristics through succeeding generations of the evolutionary process. The overall optimization procedure is applied to design a straight-line compliant mechanism : a large displacement flexural structure that generates a vertical straight line path at some point when given a horizontal straight line input displacement at another point.

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