Tidal Heating

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One of the effects that Universe Sandbox uses to calculate the temperature of an object is tidal heating, which is produced by the internal friction within an object as it is deformed by tidal forces.

Related Properties & Settings



  • Tidal heating can be toggled on and off in the Thermodynamics section of the full Sim Settings Menu.
  • When on, the strength of tidal heating can also be adjusted using the Tidal Heating Multiplier setting in the Thermodynamics section of the Sim Settings Menu.


At every time step of the simulation, Universe Sandbox calculates the total tidal force acting on the object due to gravitational forces from all the attracting objects in the simulation. The object will deform slightly under this tidal force. Universe Sandbox multiplies the change in this deformation since the last time step by a factor representing the dissipation of energy due to friction to calculate the Tidal Power, or the rate at which energy is added to the object from tidal friction. The Tidal Power is included in the Energy Absorption Rate, which is used to calculate the change in temperature for the object.