Affine Body Dynamics: Fast, Stable, and Intersection-free Simulation of Stiff Materials

ACM Transactions on Graphics (SIGGRAPH 2022)

Published August 1, 2022

Lei Lan, Danny Kaufman, Minchen Li, Chenfanfu Jiang, Yin Yang

Simulating stiff materials in applications where deformations are either not significant or else can safely be ignored is a fundamental task across fields. Rigid body modeling has thus long remained a critical tool and is, by far, the most popular simulation strategy currently employed for modeling stiff solids. At the same time, rigid body methods continue to pose a number of well known challenges and trade-offs including intersections, instabilities, inaccuracies, and/or slow performances that grow with contact-problem complexity. In this paper we revisit the stiff body problem and present ABD, a simple and highly effective affine body dynamics framework, which significantly improves state-of-the-art for simulating stiff-body dynamics. We trace the challenges in rigid-body methods to the necessity of linearizing piecewise-rigid trajectories and subsequent constraints. ABD instead relaxes the unnecessary (and unrealistic) constraint that each body’s motion be exactly rigid with a stiff orthogonality potential, while preserving the rigid body model’s key feature of a small coordinate representation. In doing so ABD replaces piecewise linearization with piecewise linear trajectories. This, in turn, combines the best of both worlds: compact coordinates ensure small, sparse system solves, while piecewise-linear trajectories enable efficient and accurate constraint (contact and joint) evaluations. Beginning with this simple foundation, ABD preserves all guarantees of the underlying IPC model we build it upon, e.g., solution convergence, guaranteed non-intersection, and accurate frictional contact. Over a wide range and scale of simulation problems we demonstrate that ABD brings orders of magnitude performance gains (two- to three-orders on the CPU and an order more when utilizing the GPU, obtaining 10, 000× speedups) over prior IPC-based methods, while maintaining simulation quality and nonintersection of trajectories. At the same time ABD has comparable or faster timings when compared to state-ofthe-art rigid body libraries optimized for performance without guarantees, and successfully and efficiently solves challenging simulation problems where both classes of prior rigid body simulation methods fail altogether.