Two Minute Papers – Simulating Breaking Glass

Time to smash virtual objects in slow motion! There is something inherently exciting about watching breaking glass and other objects. Researchers in computer graphics also like to have some fun and write simulation programs to smash together a variety of virtual objects in slow motion. However, despite being beautiful, they are physically not correct as many effects are neglected, such as simulating plasticity, bending stiffness, stretching energies and many others. Pfaff et al.’s paper “Adaptive Tearing and Cracking of Thin Sheets” addresses this issue by creating an adaptive simulator that uses more computational resources only around regions where cracks are likely to happen.

This new technique enables the simulation of tearing for a variety of materials like cork, foils, metals, vinyl and it also yields physically correct results for glass. The algorithm also lets artists influence the outcome to be in line with their artistic visions.

Pfaff et al.’s research paper “Adaptive Tearing and Cracking of Thin Sheets” is available here.