Thermomechanical Material Point

Computer graphics isn’t the same thing as simulation. It doesn’t have to be accurate, it simply has to look right. What about baking? Watch bread, cookies and pancakes cook in “fake baking” mode.

Creating computer graphics of liquids and dust is hard enough, but materials that we cook are very complex. First you have the dough or batter which is a complicated viscoelastic solid. Next you have the effect of heat, which slowly changes the properties of the dough in very subtle ways.

The stiffness and viscosity changes, but so does the water content and chemical reactions change the color of the outer layer. Then there are the leavening agents which generate carbon dioxide as the heat reaches the inside of the dough.

Now that you have some idea what the problems are, take a look at the video from researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, and enjoy what you see:

So are you hungry now? Who would have thought that a paper called “A Thermomechanical Material Point Method for Baking and Cooking” could generate so much fun, but that is a major characteristic of working in advanced graphics. Even so, the level of math needed to create these images is quite amazing. If you want to go into graphics programming then make sure your math is up to it – differential equations, integration and linear algebra should cover most things, but it’s a big area.

Finally you have to ask the question what is if all for? Personally, I can’t wait for BakerySims and TotalBakery to hit the games market. More seriously, this is obviously more aimed at movies, but there could be more applications I’m just missing.

More Information

  • A Thermomechanical Material Point Method for Baking and Cooking Mengyuan Ding,  Xuchen Han, Stephanie Wang,  Theodore F. Gast and Joseph M. Teran

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