A New Methodology for Granular Flow Simulations of Planetary Rings – Collision Handling

M.C. Lewis and G.R. Stewart (USA)


Physically-based Modeling, 3-Dimensional Modeling, Granular Flows, Planetary Rings


The simulation of granular flows is a topic that is of significant interest to work done in fields such as chemical engineering, petroleum engineering, physics, and planetary science as well as other fields such as avalanche modeling. One less well known area in which granular flow simulations are significant is in the study of planetary rings. In this paper we look at methods that we developed and implemented to deal with large-scale simulations of planetary ring systems. In particular, we look at the methods that we used for finding and processing the collisions between particles. These methods are similar in many ways to those used in the simulation of general granular flows and molecular dynamics simulations but have some specific alterations from both fields that suite the systems in question and have allowed us to parallelize our code for approaching larger problems. While the methodology was developed for strongly perturbed rings, we believe that these methods could be applicable in other systems and we give one strong warning about a case when a certain simplification causes significant inaccuracies.

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