“A virtual node algorithm for changing mesh topology during simulation” by Molino, Bao and Fedkiw

  • ©Niel Molino, Zhaosheng Bao, and Ronald Fedkiw




    A virtual node algorithm for changing mesh topology during simulation



    We propose a virtual node algorithm that allows material to separate along arbitrary (possibly branched) piecewise linear paths through a mesh. The material within an element is fragmented by creating several replicas of the element and assigning a portion of real material to each replica. This results in elements that contain both real material and empty regions. The missing material is contained in another copy (or copies) of this element. Our new virtual node algorithm automatically determines the number of replicas and the assignment of material to each. Moreover, it provides the degrees of freedom required to simulate the partially or fully fragmented material in a fashion consistent with the embedded geometry. This approach enables efficient simulation of complex geometry with a simple mesh, i.e. the geometry need not align itself with element boundaries. It also alleviates many shortcomings of traditional Lagrangian simulation techniques for meshes with changing topology. For example, slivers do not require small CFL time step restrictions since they are embedded in well shaped larger elements. To enable robust simulation of embedded geometry, we propose new algorithms for handling rigid body and self collisions. In addition, we present several mechanisms for influencing and controlling fracture with grain boundaries, prescoring, etc. We illustrate our method for both volumetric and thin-shell simulations.


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