3D Physics - Water

Need some way to define a water node. Its appearance needs to allow some level of transparency. It would not have a fixed geometry but would alter its shape as follows:


Minimizes its potential energy until it finds lowest part of container that will hold its volume, some virtual worlds might want to define any area below a certain height, not occupied by a solid as being water (the sea or a lake for example).

Is there a way to solve this analytically? I guess we just integrate from the lowest point until we get to the volume of the water?


Analytical Methods:

Wave equations for generating the surface are well known for smooth waves, more difficult for surf.

Numerical Methods:

One way to simulate waves would be to use the blobBean object.

If you just want to give the appearance of waves, without a real time simulation, then it might be possible to use a 3D texture (Texture3D) with an animated image (can Java3D support bump mapping hardware? G400 card).


The governing equations for Newtonian fluid dynamics, the unsteady Navier-Stokes equations, have been known for over a century. also see Computation Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

Some way to model the flow of water would be useful.


It would be useful to model floating & submerged objects including buoyancy, moving in currents, propellers, oars, fins, etc.

Particle Systems

Particle systems can give the illusion of fluids, for example water gushing from a pipe. But could particle systems actually simulate fluids? For example if we generate enough particles to simulate a contiguous volume of liquid, and we program them with the rules to simulate gravity, surface tension, non-compression, etc. Then could we simulate a liquid? Please e-mail me if you have any ideas on this.

metadata block
see also:


Correspondence about this page Christopher P Goller

Book Shop - Further reading.

Where I can, I have put links to Amazon for books that are relevant to the subject, click on the appropriate country flag to get more details of the book or to buy it from them.

cover An Introduction to Fluid Dynamics


cover I have not reviewed this book, so I would be interested to hear if it is useful? I would also be interested to hear if there are any other books that may be of interest to readers of this page.

Commercial Software Shop

Where I can, I have put links to Amazon for commercial software, not directly related to the software project, but related to the subject being discussed, click on the appropriate country flag to get more details of the software or to buy it from them.


This site may have errors. Don't use for critical systems.

Copyright (c) 1998-2023 Martin John Baker - All rights reserved - privacy policy.