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Rigid body simulation in Mathematica

Posted 10 years ago
Does anyone know if Mathematica has the ability to simulate rigid bodies with collision response? Or if there is a 3rd party module to do it? I have had a search through the documentation and on google and nothing definitive has shown up.

POSTED BY: Lenny Johnson
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You can simulate rigid body dynamics in many ways with Mathmetica. So the answer depends on the type of problem formulation you have. In the simplest cases rigid body dynamics with impact can be simulated using assumptions of a fraction of enery loss by the collision. This can be done using standard Newtonian mechanics. With assumption of enegy concervation you can use the Lagrangian function in Mathmatica. In the case where you have a 2d or 3d boundary value problem you can use a finite-element add-on package such as AceFem (see or write a solver for these types of problems yourself using the Wolfram language.
POSTED BY: Niels Sorensen
Posted 10 years ago
Thanks for the info. The AceFem looks very nice, although somewhat expensive for the minor investigation that I had planned. My aim was to prototype some work that would benefit from a system already in place that could simulate arbitrary rigid bodies with collision response. I think the best solution for myself would be to create an interface between mathematica and an external library containing an external rigid body and collision solver, such as "Bullet Physics". 
POSTED BY: Lenny Johnson
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