Efficient algorithms for the realistic simulation of fluids

Jesus Ojeda Contreras
Departament de Llenguatges i Sistemes Informatics, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya
Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, 2013

   title={Efficient algorithms for the realistic simulation of fluids},

   author={Ojeda Contreras, Jes{‘u}s and others},


   publisher={Universitat Polit{‘e}cnica de Catalunya}


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Nowadays there is great demand for realistic simulations in the computer graphics field. Physically-based animations are commonly used, and one of the more complex problems in this field is fluid simulation, more so if real-time applications are the goal. Videogames, in particular, resort to different techniques that, in order to represent fluids, just simulate the consequence and not the cause, using procedural or parametric methods and often discriminating the physical solution. This need motivates the present thesis, the interactive simulation of free-surface flows, usually liquids, which are the feature of interest in most common applications. Due to the complexity of fluid simulation, in order to achieve real-time framerates, we have resorted to use the high parallelism provided by actual consumer-level GPUs. The simulation algorithm, the Lattice Boltzmann Method, has been chosen accordingly due to its efficiency and the direct mapping to the hardware architecture because of its local operations. We have created two free-surface simulations in the GPU: one fully in 3D and another restricted only to the upper surface of a big bulk of fluid, limiting the simulation domain to 2D. We have extended the latter to track dry regions and is also coupled with obstacles in a geometry-independent fashion. As it is restricted to 2D, the simulation loses some features due to the impossibility of simulating vertical separation of the fluid. To account for this we have coupled the surface simulation to a generic particle system with breaking wave conditions; the simulations are totally independent and only the coupling binds the LBM with the chosen particle system. Furthermore, the visualization of both systems is also done in a realistic way within the interactive framerates; raycasting techniques are used to provide the expected light-related effects as refractions, reflections and caustics. Other techniques that improve the overall detail are also applied as low-level detail ripples and surface foam.
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