VFF: Visualizing and Segmenting the Void Space of Packed Particles
Granular materials are ubiquitous in geology, the food industry, the medical field, chemical processing, and many other facets of life. The interstitial space formed among packed particles creates an interconnected network of void space with an extraordinarily complicated geometry. The ability to analyze and modulate this geometry greatly benefits optimization efforts, particularly in the design of biomaterials that utilize granular materials for tissue repair and regeneration. In these systems, endogenous cells traverse the interstitial space of the material. To study the influence of local geometry on cell behavior, we must be able to visualize the internal 3-D structure of the packed particles, as well as break up the complex void space into more manageable subspaces. We begin by simulating packed particles, and we develop a methodology for void space segmentation. Our work uses a number of visualization tools that allow us to highlight the void space in both computational simulations and real microscope images for further analysis.