Design of structures using a variety of two-dimensional finite elements is considered in this paper. An efficient technique of computing first-order derivatives of pointwise stress constraints for simple and higher-order two-dimensional (membrane) finite elements is presented. Computational aspects of design sensitivity vector calculation, using a semi-analytical method versus traditional methods are presented. Implementation of a fully-stressed design approach to find a suitable initial estimate leads to increased computational efficiency. These aspects of the design procedure are illustrated through analysis of numerical examples. Experience indicates that a suitable mix of low and higher-order elements yields the most efficient and accurate design model.
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