Surface and Material Characterization

The microstructure of modern materials significantly influences their macroscopic material properties. We develop algorithms for the characterization and stochastic modeling of such microstructures based on three-dimensional image data, e.g. CT, FIB-REM and REM. Our products are dedicated to a deeper understanding of the complex geometry and the structure-property relationships in materials, thus offer new possibilities such as the optimization of material properties by virtual material design.

Spatial image analysis is gaining in importance as more and more methods for the three-dimensional high-resolution imaging of different materials become available. At Fraunhofer ITWM, since 2000, algorithms for the analysis of three-dimensional image data are being developed. High-resolution tomography data of material structures are provided by the in-house computer tomograph.

Stochastic geometry models are adapted to the actual microstructures based on the characteristics obtained from the image data. These models reflect the geometric structures well and thus simplify numerical simulations.

The MAVI (Modular Algorithms for Volume Images) software package, developed at Fraunhofer ITWM, for 3D image analysis is constantly being expanded. The software package ToolIP in combination with MAVIkit enables graphical algorithm development as well as batch processing for volume data.

Additionally to our software products from the MAVI family we offer the following services:

Quantitative geometric analysis of micro- or nanostructure using MAVI, resulting e.g. in:

  • volume fraction, porosity, specific surface area or connectivity of components
  • fibre length density and fibre orientation distribution
  • size and shape distribution of particles and cells
  • local porosity, local structure thickness


Acquisition of 3D Images:

  • micro computed tomography inhouse
  • with partners: phase contrast CT, confocal laser scanning microscopy, electron tomography, FIB-tomography


Project and Material Examples


Wood-Fiber Based Insulation

We are investigating the effects of fiber distribution in wood-fiber based insulating materials with the aim of improving thermal insulation.


Microstructure Design for Cell Separation

In the project »MaTBiZ«, we are trying to better understand the separation processes of biological cells using digital twins and 3D printing methods.



The homogeneity of filter media is important for material selection and quality control. We developed a theoretically sound cloudiness index and a method to measure it from image data.



In the DAnoBi project (Detection of Anomalies in Image Data), we are working with partners to develop methods that can find and segment cracks even in images as large as 400GB.



We optimize the entire production chain of nonwoven fabrics using learning methods and process simulation.


Wood Species

Mathematics supports curb illegal timber trade.


Fiber Reinforced Composites

We 3D map fiber composites and analyze the fiber component using robust methods.


Open Foams

3D image analysis for strut system and pore space provides input and validation data used in stochastic geometry models.


Closed Foams

Reliable statements on the geometry of the foam structure for the design, e.g. sandwich lightweight construction.



How do lichens affect our climate? To improve the modeling, we analyze the geometric structure in 3D images.



How old is the firn sample? We search for an answer based on the spatial arrangement of pores.


Buiscuits Roses

Why do they not crumble when soaked?


Capillary Vascular Structures

3D image analysis allows us to describe blood vessel structures. Furthermore, we can distinguish between regular and affected vessels.


Granules and Pellets

The 3D shape of particles influences further processing decisively. How can the shape be captured and described?