Particle-Based Simulation of Granular Materials

Granular materials, such as sand and grains, are ubiquitous. Simulating the 3D dynamic motion of such materials represents a challenging problem in graphics because of their unique physical properties. In this paper we present a simple and effective method for granular material simulation. By incorporating techniques from physical models, our approach describes granular phenomena more faithfully than previous methods. Granular material is represented by a large collection of non-spherical particles which may be in persistent contact. The particles represent discrete elements of the simulated material. One major advantage of using discrete elements is that the topology of particle interaction can evolve freely. As a result, highly dynamic phenomena, such as splashing and avalanches, can be conveniently generated by this meshless approach without sacrificing physical accuracy. We generalize this discrete model to rigid bodies by distributing particles over their surfaces. In this way, two-way coupling between granular materials and rigid bodies is achieved.

Authors: 
Nathan Bell (UIUC)
Yizhou Yu (UIUC)
Peter J. Mucha (Georgia Tech)
Publication Date: 
Monday, August 1, 2005
Research Area: