Triple Fluid Collision #1

Mark J. Stock

United States
3D/Sculpture Award
Triple Fluid Collision #1, SLS nylon, Mark J. Stock

I've always loved writing computer programs that can simulate some aspect of nature, and that began when our TI-99 4A computer arrived. In the subsequent 30 years, I'd write dozens of programs to explore the boundary between physical and simulated reality, but stayed most attracted to fluid flow. The shapes that fluids take in nature---and the shapes that they impose upon the rest of nature by their motion---are endlessly fascinating. I chose to stay in school to see how far this could go, developing new front-tracking methods for fluid simulation. Put simply, I generated virtual fluid simulations and observed how the interfaces or surfaces within the flows morphed and evolved. The results were beautiful, and I continue using that code to generate new work.

The simulation represented by this 3D printed object began as three fluid spheres within another fluid. The sphere on the top defined the boundary of a heavy fluid, and the spheres below, a lighter fluid. These fluids fell and rose, respectively, crashing into each other. Upon closing and colliding, the spheres spread out, their surfaces stretched and folded and contorted, resulting in this shape. The output of the simulation was aligned and cropped to show the interior of the tangled mess, then run through a custom voxelization programs to create this model. The vibrant dynamics and asymmetry of the modeled phenomenon clash with the rigidity of the 3D print and its planar construction method.

The final sculpture is 4"x12"x5", printed in white nylon using selective laser sintering.

Triple Fluid Collision #1, SLS nylon, Mark J. Stock
Triple Fluid Collision #1, SLS nylon, Mark J. Stock

Hardware and Software Used:

The simulation method and software were developed exclusively by me. I also wrote code to perform the voxelization of the resulting surface. I used the marching cubes function in GTS to generate the full-resolution mesh, and Meshlab for preparation for 3D printing. The model was printed in nylon using a selective laser sintering printer at Shapeways.