Microstructure Generator and Characterizer (MGC) is a graphical MATLAB application to generate synthetic microstructures and to calculate bulk statistics that characterize the microstructures. Microstructures specified by text files containing (x,y) data are acceptable as inputs to the application.
The user interface of the application has three regions: the Menu Items, the plot area for the microstructure positions, and the plot area for the results of analyses.
- Click menu item Microstructures to create and edit a list of microstructures
- Click menu item Analyses to create and edit a list of analyses to be performed on the microstructures
- If using a multi-core machine, click menu item Run | Use parallelism to enable execution of the analyses in parallel
- Click menu item Run | Start to execute the analyses
- If working with several huge microstructures, go to sleep while the analyses execute
- Click menu item Results to choose which results for a microstructure to display, to write to file, or to discard.
- Click menu item File | Write restart to save a record of everything (microstructures, analysis, results) to a MATLAB .mat file
- Go for a break
- If machine restarted while you were away, open the application then click menu item File | Load restart to load previous work
- Add/delete microstructures, analyses, results; save another restart, etc.
- Click File | Exit to quit.
- File | Load restart file ...
Open a file selection dialog for the name of a “restart” file to be loaded. A restart file is a record of the state of a previous session. This file is created by the menu item "File | Write restart file" during that session. Loading the restart file effectively resumes that session.
- File | Write restart file ...
Open an input dialog for the name of a “restart” file to be created. This file will be a MATLAB .mat file which records the state of the session (the microstructures generated, the analyses specified, and the analysis results, if any). This file may be loaded at some future time using the menu item "File | Load restart file" to resume the session. This feature is useful if the user gets tired and wishes to continue a session after getting some rest.
- File | Exit
Turn off parallel processing if previously enabled (see "Run | Use parallelism"), then quit the application.
- Microstructures | Add | Random ...
Accept the parameters for generating a random microstructure, then generate the microstructure positions accordingly.
The positions are plotted, and a confirmation is required to remember the microstructure.
- Microstructures | Add | Cubic ...
Accept the parameters for generating a cubic microstructure, then generate the microstructure positions accordingly.
Similar to "Microstructures | Add | Random ..." the positions will be plotted, and a confirmation will be required to remember the microstructure.
- Microstructures | Add | Hexagonal ...
The parameters for a hexagonal microstructure are the same as those for Cubic. Similar to "Microstructures | Add | Random ..." the positions will be plotted, and a confirmation will be required to remember the microstructure.
- Microstructures | Add | XY-data ...
A text file containing one XY-data pair on each line may be used to define a microstructure.
After the XY-data pairs are retrieved, a description of the microstructure may be provided. This description appears in the title when the microstructure is plotted.
- Microstructures | List
The list of microstructures appears each time after a microstructure is added.
- Microstructures | Discard
A microstructure that was generated or retrieved from a text file may be discarded from memory.
Confirmation is required to discard a microstructure.
Use the Analyses menu items to create and edit a list of analysis methods to be be performed on microstructures.
- Analyses | Add | Warnken
Accept the parameters for the Warnken analysis method.
- Analyses | Add | Modified Warnken
The parameters of the Modified Warnken analysis method are the same as those for the Warnken method.
- Analyses | Add | Voronoi
Accept the parameters for the Voronoi analysis method.
- Analyses | Add | Voronoi - Euclidean distance
The Voronoi - Euclidean distance analysis method does not have any parameters.
- Analyses | Add | Delaunay
The Delaunay analysis method does not have any parameters.
- Analyses | Add | Minimal spanning tree
The minimal spanning tree analysis method does not have any parameters.
- Analyses | List
The list of analysis methods specified so far appears each time after a method is added.
- Analyses | Discard
An analysis method that is already defined may be discarded. However, results of applying this analysis to a microstructure will not be discarded. To discard the results also, see "Results | Discard"
- Run | Use parallelism
Use this menu item to enable running the analyses in parallel on multi-core laptops and desktops. The number of labs to be used (usually the same as the of cores in the machine) has to be specified.
It takes several seconds to start the labs. The following message box will disappear once the labs are ready.
- Run | Start ...
This menu item is meaningful only after the microstructures are generated and the analyses are specified.
One or more microstructures can be selected for analysis.
One or more analysis methods can be selected to be applied on the chosen microstructures.
A warning regarding a possible long wait is displayed. A confirmation is required to initiate the run.
The application will not accept further interaction until the specified analysis methods are completed.
After completion of the specified analysis methods, the results can be visualized, written to file, or discarded.
- Results | For microstructure ...
Select a microstructure whose results are to be displayed, written to file, or discarded.
- Results | Display ...
Select an analysis result to display. A microstructure must have been previously selected.
- Results | Write to file ...
Select the results to be written to file, and the destination directory. A microstructure must have been previously selected.
After the results are written, the destination directory (named after the parameters used to generate the microstructure) will look like the following:
The file XY-Positions.txt contains the positions of the generated (or retrieved) points. This file is suitable as input to "Microstructures | Add | XY-data ..."
The other files in the directory are contain the results of the analyses. A file name is derived from the analysis parameters, if any.
- Results | Discard
Select the results to be discarded. A microstructure must have been previously selected.
- Help | Topics
Display the help file on a browser.
- Help | About
Display the current version of the tool and the contact information of the developer/maintainer.