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Visual Simulation Method Developed for Liquid Movements

Kenny Erleben (University of Copenhagen)

Kenny Erleben (University of Copenhagen)

Computer scientists at University of Copenhagen and two other institutions in Denmark created a new and more precise method for visualizing the movement of liquids. The team led by Copenhagen computer graphics professor Kenny Erleben (pictured right), with colleagues from Technical University of Denmark and Alexandra Institute in Aarhus, Denmark presented their findings at this summer’s ACM Symposium on Computer Animation in Switzerland, where they were awarded the prize for best paper.

The methods devised by Erleben’s team use dynamic mesh rather than fixed mesh structures normally found in visual simulation technologies. In fixed mesh methods, vertices are locked in a fixed position. In the new method, the fixed structure is replaced by a dynamic mesh structure where the vertices move one at a time.

The new dynamic methods, says Erleben, make it possible to take account of the fluid’s physical properties more precisely and to see how different types of fluids interact with one another. “We have taken the first step towards producing a more precise simulation of fluid materials than anything seen so far,” Erleben notes.

The new methods also provide more detail than earlier simulation processes based on statistical methods. The new approach, say the developers, offers a degree of detail where very thin structures become visible. With previous statistical methods, simulated edges of objects and structures can become blurred, and their precise physical properties can be difficult to recreate.

The new fluid simulation methods come closer to physical reality, say the developers. This quality of the new simulation makes it attractive to the company supporting the research, food products provider Danisco, a division of DuPont. Danisco is interested in the Copenhagen research to better simulate the shelf-life of liquid food products, such as yogurt. Erleben says the technology can also be applied to other issues involving the movement of fluids and soft structures, such as oil spills and medical problems involving human skin or hair.

Below is a sample image from a breaking dam simulation (courtesy, University of Copenhagen):

Image from breaking dam simulation (University of Copenhagen)

Click on image for full-size display

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