Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I was thinking and the following question came out:

how an object that is falling is simulated once it hits the ground?

Specifically, I would like to understand how one would be able to simulate the cracking of the object, and its consequent breakdown in several pieces.

As far as I understood, this topic is quite important in computer games, but I was wondering how this things are studied in physics.

One approach I recognized was the use of meshes and continuum physics. On the other hand, a N body problem where the particles were "glued" could also work.

Does anyone knows what are the principles of crack formation and object breakdown in this sense?

share|cite|improve this question

In engineering there are two main mechanisms. One is brittle fracture and the other is ductile yielding. For the latter I will give the example of Von Misses Energy Distortion Theory and the former look at brittle fracture.

Other things to consider is elastic/plastic deformation, buckling, visco-elastic response, creep and contact indentation. All of those things deform the part from it's original shape.

share|cite|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.