A Fast Impulsive Contact Suite for Rigid Body Simulation

Harald Schmidl, Victor Milenkovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


A suite of algorithms is presented for contact resolution in rigid body simulation under the Coulomb friction model: Given a set of rigid bodies with many contacts among them, resolve dynamic contacts (collisions) and static (persistent) contacts. The suite consists of four algorithms: 1) partial sequential collision resolution, 2) final resolution of collisions through the solution of a single convex QP (positive semidefinite quadratic program), 3) resolution of static contacts through the solution of a single convex QP, 4) freezing of "stationary" bodies. This suite can generate realistic-looking results for simple examples yet, for the first time, can also tractably resolve contacts for a simulation as large as 1,000 cubes in an "hourglass." Freezing speeds up this simulation by more than 25 times. Thanks to excellent commercial QP technology, the contact resolution suite is simple to implement and can be "plugged into" any simulation algorithm to provide fast and realistic-looking animations of rigid bodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-197
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2004



  • Animation
  • Computer graphics
  • Physically-based modeling
  • Quadratic programming
  • Simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Software

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