Comparison between FEM and BEM for Real-time Simulation

Y. M. Tang, A. F. Zhou, K. C. Hui

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Computer simulation of object deformation has wide applications in areas such as movies, computer graphics, computer games, etc. Numerous methods have been proposed to simulate deformable objects. A common practice of simulating deformable objects is to use physically-based approaches which include the mass-spring system and the finite element method (FEM). The mass-spring system only gives a coarse estimation of object deformation whereas the FEM requires generating solid volumetric elements which is a tedious and time consuming process. The use of boundary element method (BEM) allows objects to be deformed without generating solid volumetric elements. In order to achieve real-time deformation, all these methods require time-consuming pre-computation process. In this paper, a comparison is made between the FEM and the BEM techniques. We propose to adopt linear elements of boundary element technique for real-time applications. The method not only allows physically-based and real-time deformation, it also requires much shorter time for the pre-computation process. Experimental results show that the time required for the pre-computation process and real-time deformation can be enhanced significantly by adopting linear elements of BEM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-430
Number of pages10
JournalComputer-Aided Design and Applications
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Boundary element method
  • Linear elements
  • Physically-based modeling
  • Stiffness matrix

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computational Mathematics


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