Technical Report MSC-2020-28

Title: Real-Time Simulation of Viscous Thin-Films
Authors: Saar Raz
Supervisors: Prof. Mirela Ben-Chen
Abstract: The intricate behavior of viscous thin films has fascinated physicists, mathematicians and engineers for many years; stable discrete schemes for simulation of the effect have been proposed, yet with the advent of mobile devices and graphics hardware the question of the feasibility of a real-time simulation of the effect arises. In our research we explore novel formulations and discrete schemes and attempt to simulate this effect at real-time rates while preserving physical fidelity; we propose a novel discrete scheme for simulating the effect on planar 2D surfaces: our scheme is based on a new formulation of the gradient flow approach, that leads to a discretization based on local stencils that are easily computable on the GPU. Our 2D approach has physical fidelity, as the total mass is guaranteed to be preserved, an appropriate discrete energy is controlled, and the film height is guaranteed to be non-negative at all times. In addition, and unlike all existing methods for thin films simulation, it is fast enough to allow realtime interaction with the flow, for designing initial conditions and controlling the forces during the simulation. We also explore and show initial results using a discrete scheme derived from a novel formulation of the effect on curved surfaces, which allows simulating thin-films on curved 3D surfaces at real-time speeds with preserved visual fidelity.

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