MATBOX, an Open-Source Microstructure Analysis Toolbox for Meshing, Generation, Segmentation, and Characterization of 3D Heterogenous Volumes

Francois Usseglio-Viretta, Prehit Patel, Elizabeth Bernhardt, Jeffery Allen, Kandler Smith

Research output: NRELPresentation


Battery performance is strongly correlated with electrode microstructural properties. To account for its impact, lithium-ion battery (LIB) models either abstract the microstructural heterogeneity of composite electrodes using effective macroscopic properties (macro- or meso- scale models) or directly solve the system of equations on the microstructure geometry or mesh (microstructure-scale models). Therefore, to be adequate, both families of models require information from the microstructure geometry, which can be provided by the numerical tool presented in this work. MATBOX is a MATLAB open-source application [1] developed by NREL for performing various microstructure-related tasks including microstructure numerical generation, image filtering and microstructure segmentation, microstructure characterization and correlation, visualization, and microstructure meshing. MATBOX was originally developed for the analysis of LIB electrode microstructures; however, the algorithms provided by the toolbox are widely applicable to other heterogeneous materials. The toolbox provides a user-friendly experience thanks to a Graphical-User Interface, requires no coding by the user, and is well documented. This presentation will illustrate various MATBOX features for the characterization of a LIB electrode, including a fully automated Representative Volume Element (RVE) analysis, the numerical generation of complex 'virtual' microstructure, including dual-layer electrodes and carbon-binder additive phase, and the meshing of a complex NMC/graphite full cell microstructure suitable for 3D finite-element modeling. Other modules (segmentation, visualization, and correlation) will be briefly presented. Thanks to its modular, open-source approach, MATBOX can easily incorporate third-party algorithms to eventually build a standard in the field that will benefit the whole scientific community. Effective diffusion coefficient [2], additive phase numerical generation [3], and meshing [4] third-party algorithms have been already integrated in the toolbox with more to come.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePresented at the InterPore2021 13th Annual Meeting, 31 May - 4 June 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5700-80049


  • meshing
  • microstructure characterization
  • microstructure generation
  • microstructure segmentation


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