Topology control is an important technique to improve the energy efficiency and prolong the lifetime of the wireless ad hoc network. Based on the widely used definition of the network lifetime and energy model for wireless ad hoc networks, this paper analyses the relationship of the network lifetime, the node’s transmit range, electronics consumption, and load of the relationship between the nodes; then we find that there is a certain logcal relationship between topology control and network lifetime. Different from the former work on topology control where the objective is to minimize the total energy consumption in the network, we propose a distributed topology control algorithm for explicitly maximizing network lifetime, referred to as MLTC. After obtaining the information of all the one-hop neighbors by broadcasting messages, each node independently constructs a resulting spanning tree preserving all maximum-lifetime paths to its neighbors. Finally, each node adjusts its transmitting range at a proper value covering all of the optimum adjacent nodes it has chosen. The resulting maximum-lifetime topology has several nice properties: connectivity, symmetric and less transmitting range of per-node. Specifically, this structure is adjustable in response to the changes of reception energy consumption of wireless network interface. Theoretical analysis and simulation results demonstrate the correctness and effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.