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A Tool to Generate Grain-Resolved Open-Cell Metal Foam Models

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The development and use cases of an open-source filter for DREAM.3D that instantiates synthetic, grain-resolved, open-cell metal foam volumes are presented. The new capability allows for both synthetic-grain overlay of X-ray computed tomography data as well as fully synthetic foam geometry and grains. For the latter, a novel technique using Euclidean distances instantiates the 3D open-cell foam morphology, enabling user control of pore size, strut cross-section shape, and strut thickness variability. By integrating this approach into the DREAM.3D architecture, the entire DREAM.3D suite of filters is immediately available; thus, enabling both user control and quantification of grain size, shape, and crystallographic orientation statistics (among other metrics) as well as meshing algorithms to enable subsequent numerical analysis.

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Change history

  • 19 August 2019

    Readers should note that this article was originally published without the electronic supplementary material with which it is now published.


  1. 1.

    All DREAM.3D instantiation images in this paper were taken in ParaView.

  2. 2.

    The Strut Cross Section Shape Factor only functions as the (set theory) intersection (i.e., ∩) with the Strut Thickness Variability Factor. The Strut Thickness Variability Factor functions independently.

  3. 3.

    Note that the use of “Change Scaling of Volume” is only needed because the native CT scan resolution was small such that the minimum of a lognormal mean did not allow to make the grain size smaller through a more straightforward route. As a workaround, the scaling was defined as ¼ the native scan resolution; the grains are then packed, and the resolution is subsequently changed to the native CT scan resolution. In similar studies with larger scan resolution, the user should simply change the mean in StatsGenerator.

  4. 4.

    The ParaView clip utility is used to take an interior subset volume, because if non-periodic boundary conditions are used, then the Euclidean distances do not produce representative morphology near the domain boundary.

  5. 5.

    Anecdotally, a good way to determine the Strut Thickness Variability Factor and Strut Cross Section Shape Factor is to set the “StatsGenerator” parameters and “Initialize Synthetic Volume” parameters, then run the pipeline with the defaults in “Establish Foam Morpholoy.” Open the result in ParaView, then use the calculator utility to calculate Strut Thickness Variability Factor and Strut Cross Section Shape Factor (equations provided in the Euclidean Distance Maps to Generate Foam Morphology Section). Then use the Threshold Utility to determine what threshold satisfies the requirement, and use those thresholds as inputs in “Establish Foam Morphology.”

  6. 6.

    Further, DREAM.3D does not distinguish between the sample direction and the larger and smaller minor semi-axis in terms of calculating aspect ratios. Instead, it simply rank orders them largest to smallest; therefore, the b:c aspect ratio of 1.3:1 may be closer to 1:1, which would further increase the major semi-axis aspect ratio component.


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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation DMREF program under Grant No. CMMI-1629660.

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Correspondence to Joseph C. Tucker.

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Tucker, J.C., Spear, A.D. A Tool to Generate Grain-Resolved Open-Cell Metal Foam Models. Integr Mater Manuf Innov 8, 247–256 (2019).

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  • Metallic foam
  • Cellular solid
  • Porous metals
  • Microstructure
  • Simulation