Updated: Sep 18, 2018

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.


Granular materials, Material point method, Contact dynamics, Constraints, Physical simulation


We thank Henrique Teles Maia for his help in producing the video, Gabriel Cirio for creating the funnel mesh, as well as Sachith Dunatunga, Chenfanfu Jiang, Andre Pradhana, and Yun Fei for insightful discussions. This work was supported in part by JSPS (Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (A) 17H04682), NSF (Grants CBET-17-06689, IIS-11-17257, IIS-12-17904, IIS-13-19483, IIS-14-09286, CMMI-11-29917, CMMI-13- 31499), IARPA (Grant 2014-14071600012), Adobe, and Autodesk.

ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proc. of SIGGRAPH ASIA 2018), 37(6), 283:1-19, 2018

Paper: PDF(35.4MB)
Video: youtube video High res MP4(140.5MB)
Supplemental material: zip(1.2MB)


        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},