Fluid Dynamics using Laplacian Eigenfunctions

Tyler de Witt, Christian Lessig, and Eugene Fiume
University of Toronto


We present an algorithm for the simulation of incompressible fluid phenomena that is computationally efficient and leads to visually convincing simulations with far fewer degrees of freedom than existing approaches. Rather than using an Eulerian grid or Lagrangian elements, we represent vorticity and velocity using a basis of global functions defined over the entire simulation domain. We show that choosing Laplacian eigenfunctions for this basis provides benefits, including correspondence with spatial scales of vorticity and precise energy control at each scale. We perform Galerkin projection of the Navier-Stokes equations to derive a time evolution equation in the space of basis coefficients. Our method admits closed form solutions on simple domains but can also be implemented efficiently on arbitrary meshes.


Transactions on Graphics, 2011 (to appear) [Preprint]


Main Video (103M)
Supplementary Video (35M)


Java Applet
LEcode20120803.tar.gz (28kb)