Surface Evolver Workshop

Kenneth A. Brakke
Susquehanna University
Selinsgrove, PA 17870

This Workshop was originally presented during six two-hour sessions over a three week period during April, 2004, at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. The author thanks Prof. Denis Weaire and the Foam Physics Group of the Physics Department of Trinity College for sabbatical support during the spring of 2004.

These Workshop pages have been edited to remove material particular to Trinity College. It is assumed you have the Surface Evolver installed; if not, consult the installation instructions.

While you can browse the workshop online, the sample datafiles referred to in this Workshop are included in the fe subdirectory of the Workshop download package. The links to the online Evolver documentation are links to the doc subdirectory, so if you are working from the downloaded package, then you can work entirely offline.

The Surface Evolver is a program expressly designed for the modeling of soap bubbles, foams, liquid solder, capillary shapes, and other liquid surfaces shaped by minimizing energy (such as surface tension and gravity) subject to various constraints (such as bubble volumes and fixed frames). The surface is represented as a collection of triangles, so the complicated topologies found in foams can be easily handled. The Evolver can handle the topological changes encountered during foam coarsening and quasi-static flow. It provides interactive 3D graphics and an extensive command language. The Surface Evolver is freely available from its home page.

Those people new to the Evolver may want to read the Overview and Basic Concepts sections from the online documentation,

This Workshop does not assume any previous familiarity with Evolver. Due to the wide range of backgrounds of those involved, this Workshop is set up as a self-paced set of exercises to work through.

Other materials of interest

Examples on the Surface Evolver home page:

Example command scripts:

Some interesting Evolver command scripts, whose inspection will be educational and fill those idle hours. These are to be found in the fe subdirectory of the Workshop directory, and may be viewed with any text editor. Each file has some further description and usage instructions at the top. Caveat: Some of these are old, and don't use the most elegant Evolver language currently available. Also, those files for writing various formats are usually pretty simplistic, and should only be taken as inspiration for doing your own script.
acro.cmd Make an ACROSPIN data file.
adjoint.cmd Calculation of adjoint minimal surface using Konrad Polthier's discrete conjugate method of Bonnet rotation.
ansurf.cmd Produce file for ANSYS input.
band.cmd Create triangulated band bordering designated edges and vertices.
gaussmap.cmd Converts each vertex coordinate to unit normal.
gaussref.cmd Refining using Gauss map as criterion.
iges.cmd Write IGES file for surface.
jvx.cmd Create jvx file for JavaView.
multiplicate.cmd Create datafile with surface duplicated according to view transforms in effect.
orientfix.cmd Homogenize facet orientations.
povray.cmd Produce POV-Ray input file.
rewrap.cmd Rewrap 3D torus vertices and edges to get them nicely within unit cell.
rewrap2.cmd Rewrap 2D torus vertices and edges to get them nicely within unit cell.
rib.cmd Write RenderMan RIB file for surface.
saveview.cmd Save current view matrix in proper form for reading in.
slice.cmd Calculate area of intersection of surface with plane.
slicer.cmd Create intersection of surface with plane.
torslice.cmd For slicing out a slab from twointor.fe.
vrml.cmd Makes VRML file for surface.
Wavefront.cmd Produce Wavefront format file.
wetfoam2.cmd Convert dry foam to wet foam.
xray.cmd Produces xray image of wet foam.
zebra.cmd Alternately color string model edges black and white.
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