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The main objective of the present paper is to address a formal procedure for orthotropic steelplates design. The theme of the proposed approach is to recast the design procedure into a mathematicalprograming model. The objective function to be optimized is the total weight of the structure. The totalweight is function of its layout parameters and structural element design variables. Mean while theproposed approach takes into consideration the strength and rigidity criteria in addition to otherdimensional constraints. A nonlinear programming model is developed which consists of a nonlinearobjective function and a set of implicit/explicit nonlinear constraints. A transformation method is adoptedfor minimization strategy, where the primal model constrained problem is transformed into a sequence ofunconstrained minimization models. The search strategy is based on the well-known Fletcher/Powelalgorithm. The finite element technique is adopted for discretization and analysis strategies. Mindlintheory is selected to simulate the finite element model and a selective reduced integration scheme isexploited to avoid a shear lock problem.