Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical and Materials Engineering


Dr. George Knopf


This thesis presents a computational framework for representing, manipulating and merging rigid and deformable freeform objects in virtual reality (VR) environment. The core algorithms for collision detection, merging, and physics-based modeling used within this framework assume that all 3D deformable objects are B-spline surfaces. The interactive design tool can be represented as a B-spline surface, an implicit surface or a point, to allow the user a variety of rigid or deformable tools. The collision detection system utilizes the fact that the blending matrices used to discretize the B-spline surface are independent of the position of the control points and, therefore, can be pre-calculated. Complex B-spline surfaces can be generated by merging various B-spline surface patches using the B-spline surface patches merging algorithm presented in this thesis. Finally, the physics-based modeling system uses the mass-spring representation to determine the deformation and the reaction force values provided to the user. This helps to simulate realistic material behaviour of the model and assist the user in validating the design before performing extensive product detailing or finite element analysis using commercially available CAD software. The novelty of the proposed method stems from the pre-calculated blending matrices used to generate the points for graphical rendering, collision detection, merging of B-spline patches, and nodes for the mass spring system. This approach reduces computational time by avoiding the need to solve complex equations for blending functions of B-splines and perform the inversion of large matrices. This alternative approach to the mechanical concept design will also help to do away with the need to build prototypes for conceptualization and preliminary validation of the idea thereby reducing the time and cost of concept design phase and the wastage of resources.