Adaptive tearing and cracking of thin sheets

Tobias Pfaff, Rahul Narain, Juan Miguel De Joya, James F. O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


This paper presents a method for adaptive fracture propagation in thin sheets. A high-quality triangle mesh is dynamically restructured to adaptively maintain detail wherever it is required by the simulation. These requirements include refining where cracks are likely to either start or advance. Refinement ensures that the stress distribution around the crack tip is well resolved, which is vital for creating highly detailed, realistic crack paths. The dynamic meshing framework allows subsequent coarsening once areas are no longer likely to produce cracking. This coarsening allows efficient simulation by reducing the total number of active nodes and by preventing the formation of thin slivers around the crack path. A local reprojection scheme and a substepping fracture process help to ensure stability and prevent a loss of plasticity during remeshing. By including bending and stretching plasticity models, the method is able to simulate a large range of materials with very different fracture behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110
JournalACM Transactions on Graphics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event41st International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, ACM SIGGRAPH 2014 - Vancouver, BC, Canada
Duration: Aug 10 2014Aug 14 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the other members of the Berkeley Visual Computing Group for their help and support, and the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments. This work was supported by funding from the Intel Science and Technology Center for Visual Computing, NSF Grant IIS-0915462, and a gift from Pixar Animation Studios.


  • Bending.
  • Cracking
  • Fracture simulation
  • Plastic deformation
  • Shells
  • Tearing
  • Thin sheets


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