Elastic model

Satellites are connected by elastic cables. These cables, when stretched, exert tensile forces on the connected bodies. The cables are regarded as massless, connecting the point masses of the satellite bodies.

Hooke's Law is then used to calculate the force due to elastic tension. From this, another set of accelerations can be found. These are added to the gravitational accelerations already calculated. The sum of the accelerations is then used to calculate new velocities and locations.

In this applet, satellites are randomly connected by an elastic cable, as well as being initialized with random velocities. This makes for binaries which spin round each other, or more complex systems. Cable tension is shown by increasing intensity of blue, and compression by increasing intensity of red (although in this model no compressive forces are modelled).

Each simulation is started/stopped by clicking on the Start/Stop button. With Motion trails unticked, bodies and cables are shown at their present location. In Show trails ticked, bodies and cable motion leaves a trail. The Hold option fixes the radial distance of the lowest body in the tower. The Feed option allows bodies to be fed into the base of a rising tower. The Release option breaks the cable connecting the lowest tower body to the planet. The Shatter option breaks all cables in a tower.

Applets can be restarted by returning to this page, and then reselecting them. Where the models have randomized initialization (as in the Gravitational model and the Elastic model), a new simulation starts each time the applet begins.

The larger the number of bodies and the shorter the time interval used, the slower these simulation models run.