Functional thin films on surfaces

Omri Azencot, Orestis Vantzos, Max Wardetzky, Martin Rumpf, Mirela Ben-Chen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The motion of a thin viscous film of fluid on a curved surface exhibits many intricate visual phenomena, which are challenging to simulate using existing techniques. A possible alternative is to use a reduced model, involving only the temporal evolution of the mass density of the film on the surface. However, in this model, the motion is governed by a fourth-order nonlinear PDE, which involves geometric quantities such as the curvature of the underlying surface, and is therefore difficult to discretize. Inspired by a recent variational formulation for this problem on smooth surfaces, we present a corresponding model for triangle meshes. We provide a discretization for the curvature and advection operators which leads to an efficient and stable numerical scheme, requires a single sparse linear solve per time step, and exactly preserves the total volume of the fluid. We validate our method by qualitatively comparing to known results from the literature, and demonstrate various intricate effects achievable by our method, such as droplet formation, evaporation, droplets interaction and viscous fingering.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - SCA 2015
Subtitle of host publication14th ACM SIGGRAPH / Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation
EditorsStephen N. Spencer
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450334969
StatePublished - 7 Aug 2015
Event14th ACM SIGGRAPH / Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation, SCA 2015 - Los Angeles, United States
Duration: 7 Aug 20159 Aug 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings - SCA 2015: 14th ACM SIGGRAPH / Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation


Conference14th ACM SIGGRAPH / Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation, SCA 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLos Angeles


  • Flows on curved surfaces
  • Free surface flows
  • Thin films

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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