Scalable Solvers for Frictional Rigid Body Contact

Granular media is simply a collection of rigid particles. It is one of the most common form of materials in several fields of applications (e.g. molecular dynamics, terramechanics, robotics). However, unlike other states of matter, there is no simple constitutive law governing granular flow. For this reason, the discrete element method (DEM), which track each particle individually, remains the most accurate way to simulate the these materials.

Naturally, since each particles needs to be tracked separately, the computational cost of running DEM simulations for large-scale problems is very high. In this project, we aim to

  • Use the complementarity model for contact, which allows for larger step-sizes in numerical time-stepping.
  • Develop a distributed memory framework to enable running simulations with a large number of particles (millions to billions).
  • Accelerate the collision resolution step using fast algorithms.

At the end of the project, we plan to produce a software module that can serve as a component of various domain specific simulations.

Saibal De
Graduate Student

Graduate Student Research Assistant (GSRA), University of Michigan.