Joachim Ohser, Claudia Redenbach, Katja Schladitz


The structure model index (SMI) is a means of subsuming the topology of a homogeneous random closed set under just one number, similar to the isoperimetric shape factors used for compact sets. Originally, the SMI is defined as a function of volume fraction, specific surface area and first derivative of the specific surface area, where the derivative is defined and computed using a surface meshing. The generalised Steiner formula yields however a derivative of the specific surface area that is – up to a constant – the density of the integral of mean curvature. Consequently, an SMI can be defined without referring to a discretisation and it can be estimated from 3D image data without need to mesh the surface but using the number of occurrences of 2×2×2 pixel configurations, only. Obviously, it is impossible to completely describe a random closed set by one number. In this paper, Boolean models of balls and infinite straight cylinders serve as cautionary examples pointing out the limitations of the SMI. Nevertheless, shape factors like the SMI can be valuable tools for comparing similar structures. This is illustrated on real microstructures of ice, foams, and paper.

image analysis; integral of mean curvature; intrinsic volume densities; random closed set; shape factor

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DOI: 10.5566/ias.v28.p179-185

Image Analysis & Stereology
EISSN 1854-5165 (Electronic version)
ISSN 1580-3139 (Printed version)