Sand Dune Simulation: particle stacking caused by wind


I’m attempting to create a sand dune simulator using grasshopper and the plugin Flexhopper/kangaroo. My approach has been to simulate particles that can clump together and pile up in front of a form. I want to achieve at least a piling of particles in front of the object, based on a vector force driving particles into the form. The wind would be great to integrate, but this seems impossible.

(a side note: This project aims to develop a habitat that over time gets consumed by martian dust/regolith/sand)

Currently I have used flexhopper, but am switching to kangaroo because this seems more doable. Any suggestions would be welcome. script is available here, and below you can see where I’m at with flexhopper. Ive seen other discussions on this form about sticky sand, but these all interact 2-dimensionally.


If anyone is actually interested in solving this particle problem I found a dune solver plugin that works with Houdini, unfortunately, I could not figure it out in grasshopper. Here is the initial result I have made.

if you’d like to replicate this, just google “Houdini dune solver” there is one tutorial available on youtube. If anyone has an approach that would work with grasshopper please let me know, Id still rather keep it in one program!

This is a cool study!

I have nothing to add to help other than I don’t think particles in Kangaroo particles have any volume. To get accumulation effects you need to incorporate 3D volume, collision and friction effects.

For example the natural angle of repose for dry sand is about 30 degrees if I remember correctly.

Well here’s some pseudo code from online about actual sand behavior:
Models of dune field morphology (
And some architectural investigations here:
Projective Sandscapes: Manipulation of Desertifying Mechanisms’ AA Landscape Urbanism 2015 by AA Landscape Urbanism MArch/MSc - Issuu

1 Like