A Multiscale Approach to Mesh-based Surface Tension Flows

Nils Thuerey, Chris Wojtan, Markus Gross, and Greg Turk


We present an approach to simulate flows driven by surface tension based on triangle meshes. Our method consists of two simulation layers: the first layer is an Eulerian method for simulating surface tension forces that is free from typical strict time step constraints. The second simulation layer is a Lagrangian finite element method that simulates sub-grid scale wave details on the fluid surface. The surface wave simulation employs an unconditionally stable, symplectic time integration method that allows for a high propagation speed due to strong surface tension. Our approach can naturally separate the grid- and sub-grid scales based on a volume-preserving mean curvature flow. As our model for the sub-grid dynamics enforces a local conservation of mass, it leads to realistic pinch off and merging effects. In addition to this method for simulating dynamic surface tension effects, we also present an efficient non-oscillatory approximation for capturing damped surface tension behavior. These approaches allow us to efficiently simulate complex phenomena associated with strong surface tension, such as Rayleigh-Plateau instabilities and crown splashes, in a short amount of time.

Paper - Video - Bibtex

Nils Thuerey, Chris Wojtan, Markus Gross and Greg Turk. ACM Trans. Graph. (SIGGRAPH), 29(4), pages 1--10, 2010