Graphical Modeling and Animation of Fracture
This thesis addresses the problem of graphically modeling and animating the realistic behavior of materials that can undergo fracture due to deformation-induced stress. Using an approach based on linear elastic fracture mechanics and non-linear finite element analysis, three-dimensional volumes are modeled using a mesh of tetrahedral elements. By analyzing the stresses created as the mesh deforms, the simulation determines where cracks should begin and in what directions they should propagate. The system accommodates arbitrary propagation directions by dynamically retesselating the mesh. Because cracks are not limited to element boundaries, the models can form irregularly shaped features as they shatter. This technique overcomes limitations of previous methods that made it difficult to represent the shape of the fracture's surface. Results are presented to demonstrate that this method can be used to animate complex, real-world situations in a compelling, realistic fashion.