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What is 'relaxation step'?

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Hi All, I have been reading a little more in the forums on physics and collision detection , and I see the term 'relaxation step' used a lot. What is this, and how does it work? Thanks!

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Relaxation is often applied to numerical constraints in order to improve stability of calculations. For example, an integration step can be "smoothed" in order to keep the result in some defined practical limits.

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The term refers to the relaxation techniques of Linear Algebra, which is useful for spacing points out evenly in R3.

Think of it like a bunch molecules or atoms which are compressed together. When the pressure is released, you know that the particles will begin to space themselves out back to the original density at which they exist optimally at the current temperature.

Relaxation simulates this action of repelling each other until an even amount of space exists between all particles.

It's used heavily in fluid simulation, such as for water. When one simulates it numerically on the computer, the particles "bunch" up. Relaxation is then used to space out the particles back to the homogenous distribution it began at.

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