Experimental Mathematics

The surface evolver

Kenneth A. Brakke


The Surface Evolver is a computer program that minimizes the energy of a surface subject to constraints. The surface is represented as a simplicial complex. The energy can include surface tension, gravity and other forms. Constraints can be geometrical constraints on vertex positions or constraints on integrated quantities such as body volumes. The minimization is done by evolving the surface down the energy gradient. This paper describes the mathematical model used and the operations available to interactively modify the surface.

Article information

Experiment. Math., Volume 1, Issue 2 (1992), 141-165.

First available in Project Euclid: 26 March 2003

Permanent link to this document

Mathematical Reviews number (MathSciNet)

Zentralblatt MATH identifier

Primary: 53A10: Minimal surfaces, surfaces with prescribed mean curvature [See also 49Q05, 49Q10, 53C42]
Secondary: 49Q05: Minimal surfaces [See also 53A10, 58E12] 49Q10: Optimization of shapes other than minimal surfaces [See also 90C90] 53-04: Explicit machine computation and programs (not the theory of computation or programming) 53A05: Surfaces in Euclidean space


Brakke, Kenneth A. The surface evolver. Experiment. Math. 1 (1992), no. 2, 141--165. https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.em/1048709050

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