Combining X-ray microtomography with computer simulation for analysis of granular and porous materials

Roberto Moreno-Atanasio, Richard A. Williams*, Xiaodong Jia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Citations (Scopus)


The use of X-ray microtomographic (XMT) methods in analysing particulate systems has expanded rapidly in recent years with the availability of affordable desk-top apparatus. This review presents a summary of the major applications in which computer simulations are explicitly coupled with XMT in the area of granular and porous materials. We envisage two main ways of establishing the coupling between both techniques, based on the transference or exchange of information by using physical or geometrical parameters (i.e. a parametric link through fitting to a process model) or through the direct use of 3D XMT digital images (i.e. comparing image pixels and features directly). Examples of coupled applications are shown for the study of transport properties of rocks, particle packing, mechanical loading and sintering. Often, the link between XMT and computer simulations is based on visual comparisons and we conclude that the use of quantitative parameters such as the number of interparticle contacts, force networks or granule shape to link both techniques is still underrepresented in the literature. Strategies to provide a more robust and quantitative approach to optimise the information obtained from such tomography analyses are proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-99
Number of pages19
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • Computer modelling
  • Discrete element method
  • Granular flow
  • Lattice Boltzmann method
  • X-ray microtomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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