Hybrid Grains: Adaptive Coupling of Discrete and Continuum Simulations of Granular Media

Yonghao Yue1,2,* Breannan Smith2,* Peter Yichen Chen2,*
Maytee Chantharayukhonthorn3,* Ken Kamrin3,+ Eitan Grinspun2,+

1The University of Tokyo 2Columbia University 3Massachusetts Institute of Technology
*Co-first authors: authors contributed equally +Corresponding authors


We propose a technique to simulate granular materials that exploits the dual strengths of discrete and continuum treatments. Discrete element simulations provide unmatched levels of detail and generality, but prove excessively costly when applied to large scale systems. Continuum approaches are computationally tractable, but limited in applicability due to built-in modeling assumptions; e.g., models suitable for granular flows typically fail to capture clogging, bouncing and ballistic motion. In our hybrid approach, an oracle dynamically partitions the domain into continuum regions where safe, and discrete regions where necessary. The domains overlap along transition zones, where a Lagrangian dynamics mass-splitting coupling principle enforces agreement between the two simulation states. Enrichment and homogenization operations allow the partitions to evolve over time. This approach accurately and efficiently simulates scenarios that previously required an entirely discrete treatment.


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    author = {Yue, Yonghao and Smith, Breannan and Chen, Peter Yichen and Chantharayukhonthorn, Maytee and Kamrin, Ken and Grinspun, Eitan},
    title = {Hybrid Grains: Adaptive Coupling of Discrete and Continuum Simulations of Granular Media},
    journal = {ACM Trans. Graph.},
    volume = {37},
    number = {6},
    month = nov,
    year = {2018},
    pages = {283:1--283:19},
    articleno = {283},
    numpages = {19},