Frictional Contact on Smooth Elastic Solids

Egor Larionov, Ye Fan and Dinesh K. Pai

Frictional Contact Teaser

Frictional contact between deformable elastic objects remains a difficult simulation problem in computer graphics. Traditionally, contact has been resolved using sophisticated collision detection schemes and methods that build on the assumption that contact happens between polygons. While polygonal surfaces are an efficient representation for solids, they lack some intrinsic properties that are important for contact resolution. Generally, polygonal surfaces are not equipped with an intrinsic inside and outside partitioning or a smooth distance field close to the surface.

Here we propose a new method for resolving frictional contacts against deforming implicit surface representations that addresses these problems. We augment a moving least squares (MLS) implicit surface formulation with a local kernel for resolving contacts, and develop a simple parallel transport approximation to enable transfer of frictional impulses. Our variational formulation of dynamics and elasticity enables us to naturally include contact constraints, which are resolved as one Newton-Raphson solve with linear inequality constraints. We extend this formulation by forwarding friction impulses from one time step to the next, used as external forces in the elasticity solve. This maintains the decoupling of friction from elasticity thus allowing for different solvers to be used in each step. In addition, we develop a variation of staggered projections, that relies solely on a non-linear optimization without constraints and does not require a discretization of the friction cone. Our results compare favorably to a popular industrial elasticity solver (used for visual effects), as well as recent academic work in frictional contact, both of which rely on polygons for contact resolution. We present examples of coupling between rigid bodies, cloth and elastic solids.

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    author = {Larionov, Egor and Fan, Ye and Pai, Dinesh K.},
    title = {Frictional Contact on Smooth Elastic Solids},
    year = {2021},
    issue_date = {April 2021},
    publisher = {Association for Computing Machinery},
    address = {New York, NY, USA},
    volume = {40},
    number = {2},
    issn = {0730-0301},
    url = {},
    doi = {10.1145/3446663},
    journal = {ACM Trans. Graph.},
    month = apr,
    articleno = {15},
    numpages = {17},
    keywords = {contact, elasticity, dry friction}