Inspiration for the APS March Meeting 2014 Logo
A. Gillman, K. Matouš, and S. Atkinson, "Microstructure-statistics-property relations of anisotropic polydisperse particulate composites using tomography," Phys. Rev. E 87, 022208 (2013)
Large collections of irregular particles or grains appear in geological formations, protein configurations, pharmaceutical powders, and agricultural products, so researchers would like to understand how the packing of such particles affects the systems' large-scale properties. Analyses of 3D images of such collections of particles often assume they are spherical or that they are all the same size in order to simplify computations. Reporting in Physical Review E, a research team from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana demonstrates a technique to image and analyze a collection of particles with a wide range of sizes and shapes.
The March Meeting 2014 logo was specifically inspired by an image from their research that shows an intermediate stage in the extensive image processing of a micro-CT scan of a pile of mustard seeds mixed with rice grains. At this stage, the team's software successfully identified most of the particles and separated them from one another, as you can see in this 2D slice through the pile. But the program identifies some particles (orange) that remain connected and require further processing to separate.