We have developed a simulation technique that uses non-linear finite element analysis and elastic fracture mechanics to compute physically plausible motion for three-dimensional, solid objects as they break, crack, or tear. When these objects deform beyond their mechanical limits, the system automatically determines where fractures should begin and in what directions they should propagate. The system allows fractures to propagate in arbitrary directions by dynamically restructuring the elements of a tetrahedral mesh. Because cracks are not limited to the original element boundaries, the objects can form irregularly shaped shards and edges as they shatter. The result is realistic fracture patterns such as the ones shown in our examples. This paper presents an overview of the fracture algorithm, the details are presented in our ACM SIGGRAPH 1999 and 2002 papers.
James F. O'Brien and Jessica K. Hodgins. "Animating Fracture". Communications of the ACM, 43(7):68–75, July 2000.
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