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  1. We propose a height-field-based real-time simulation method for sand and water mixtures. Inspired by the shallow-water assumption, our approach extends the governing equations to handle two-phase flows of sand and water using height fields. Our depth-integrated governing equations can model the elastoplastic behavior of sand, as well as sand-water-mixing phenomena such as friction, diffusion, saturation, and momentum exchange. We further propose an operator-splitting time integrator that is both GPU-friendly and stable under moderate time step sizes. We have evaluated our method on a set of benchmark scenarios involving large bodies of heterogeneous materials, where our GPU-based algorithm runs at real-time frame rates. Our method achieves a desirable trade-off between fidelity and performance, bringing an unprecedentedly immersive experience for real-time applications. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 10, 2024
  2. Lagrangian/Eulerian hybrid strand-based hair simulation techniques have quickly become a popular approach in VFX and real-time graphics applications. With Lagrangian hair dynamics, the inter-hair contacts are resolved in the Eulerian grid using the continuum method, i.e., the MPM scheme with the granular Drucker-Prager rheology, to avoid expensive collision detection and handling. This fuzzy collision handling makes the authoring process significantly easier. However, although current hair grooming tools provide a wide range of strand-based modeling tools for this simulation approach, the crucial sag-free initialization functionality remains often ignored. Thus, when the simulation starts, gravity would cause any artistic hairstyle to sag and deform into unintended and undesirable shapes. This paper proposes a novel four-stage sag-free initialization framework to solve stable quasistatic configurations for hybrid strand-based hair dynamic systems. These four stages are split into two global-local pairs. The first one ensures static equilibrium at every Eulerian grid node with additional inequality constraints to prevent stress from exiting the yielding surface. We then derive several associated closed-form solutions in the local stage to compute segment rest lengths, orientations, and particle deformation gradients in parallel. The second global-local step solves along each hair strand to ensure all the bend and twist constraints produce zero net torque on every hair segment, followed by a local step to adjust the rest Darboux vectors to a unit quaternion. We also introduce an essential modification for the Darboux vector to eliminate the ambiguity of the Cosserat rod rest pose in both initialization and simulation. We evaluate our method on a wide range of hairstyles, and our approach can only take a few seconds to minutes to get the rest quasistatic configurations for hundreds of hair strands. Our results show that our method successfully prevents sagging and has minimal impact on the hair motion during simulation. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  3. The Finite Element Method (FEM) is widely used to solve discrete Partial Differential Equations (PDEs) in engineering and graphics applications. The popularity of FEM led to the development of a large family of variants, most of which require a tetrahedral or hexahedral mesh to construct the basis. While the theoretical properties of FEM basis (such as convergence rate, stability, etc.) are well understood under specific assumptions on the mesh quality, their practical performance, influenced both by the choice of the basis construction and quality of mesh generation, have not been systematically documented for large collections of automatically meshed 3D geometries. We introduce a set of benchmark problems involving most commonly solved elliptic PDEs, starting from simple cases with an analytical solution, moving to commonly used test problem setups, and using manufactured solutions for thousands of real-world, automatically meshed geometries. For all these cases, we use state-of-the-art meshing tools to create both tetrahedral and hexahedral meshes, and compare the performance of different element types for common elliptic PDEs. The goal of this benchmark is to enable comparison of complete FEM pipelines, from mesh generation to algebraic solver, and exploration of relative impact of different factors on the overall system performance. As a specific application of our geometry and benchmark dataset, we explore the question of relative advantages of unstructured (triangular/ tetrahedral) and structured (quadrilateral/hexahedral) discretizations. We observe that for Lagrange-type elements, while linear tetrahedral elements perform poorly, quadratic tetrahedral elements perform equally well or outperform hexahedral elements for our set of problems and currently available mesh generation algorithms. This observation suggests that for common problems in structural analysis, thermal analysis, and low Reynolds number flows, high-quality results can be obtained with unstructured tetrahedral meshes, which can be created robustly and automatically. We release the description of the benchmark problems, meshes, and reference implementation of our testing infrastructure to enable statistically significant comparisons between different FE methods, which we hope will be helpful in the development of new meshing and FEA techniques. 
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  5. We present a new method to generate optimal grasps for brittle and fragile objects using a novel stressminimization (SM) metric. Our approach is designed for objects that are composed of homogeneous isotopic materials. Our SM metric measures the maximal resistible external wrenches that would not result in fractures in the target objects. In this paper, we propose methods to compute our new metric. We also use our SM metric to design optimal grasp planning algorithms. Finally, we compare the performance of our metric and conventional grasp metrics, including Q1, Q∞, QG11, QMSV , QV EW . Our experiments show that our SM metric takes into account the material characteristics and object shapes to indicate the fragile regions, where prior methods may not work well. We also show that the computational cost of our SM metric is on par with prior methods. Finally, we show that grasp planners guided by our metric can lower the probability of breaking target objects. 
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  6. For a given PDE problem, three main factors affect the accuracy of FEM solutions: basis order, mesh resolution, and mesh element quality. The first two factors are easy to control, while controlling element shape quality is a challenge, with fundamental limitations on what can be achieved. We propose to use p-refinement (increasing element degree) to decouple the approximation error of the finite element method from the domain mesh quality for elliptic PDEs. Our technique produces an accurate solution even on meshes with badly shaped elements, with a slightly higher running time due to the higher cost of high-order elements. We demonstrate that it is able to automatically adapt the basis to badly shaped elements, ensuring an error consistent with high-quality meshing, without any per-mesh parameter tuning. Our construction reduces to traditional fixed-degree FEM methods on high-quality meshes with identical performance. Our construction decreases the burden on meshing algorithms, reducing the need for often expensive mesh optimization and automatically compensates for badly shaped elements, which are present due to boundary con- straints or limitations of current meshing methods. By tackling mesh gen- eration and finite element simulation jointly, we obtain a pipeline that is both more efficient and more robust than combinations of existing state of the art meshing and FEM algorithms. 
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