The design of band-gap structures receives increasing attention for many applications in mitigation of undesirable vibration and noise emission levels. A band-gap structure usually consists of a periodic distribution of elastic materials or segments, where the propagation of waves is impeded or significantly suppressed for a range of external excitation frequencies. Maximization of the band-gap is therefore an obvious objective for optimum design. This problem is sometimes formulated by optimizing a parameterized design model which assumes multiple periodicity in the design. However, it is shown in the present paper that such an a priori assumption is not necessary since, in general, just the maximization of the gap between two consecutive natural frequencies leads to significant design periodicity. The aim of this paper is to maximize frequency gaps by shape optimization of transversely vibrating Bernoulli-Euler beams subjected to free, standing wave vibration or forced, time-harmonic wave propagation, and to study the associated creation of periodicity of the optimized beam designs. The beams are assumed to have variable cross-sectional area, given total volume and length, and to be made of a single, linearly elastic material without damping. Numerical results are presented for different combinations of classical boundary conditions, prescribed orders of the upper and lower natural frequencies of maximized natural frequency gaps, and a given minimum constraint value for the beam cross-sectional area. To study the band-gap for travelling waves, a repeated inner segment of the optimized beams is analyzed using Floquet theory and the waveguide finite element (WFE) method. Finally, the frequency response is computed for the optimized beams when these are subjected to an external time-harmonic loading with different excitation frequencies, in order to investigate the attenuation levels in prescribed frequency band-gaps. The results demonstrate that there is almost perfect correlation between the band-gap size/location of the emerging band structure and the size/location of the corresponding natural frequency gap in the finite structure. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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