The understanding of the relationship between the microstructure of materials for energy applications and their transport and electrochemical properties is needed to optimize their long-term performance. The improvements of 3D imaging techniques such as x-ray nanotomography allow access to geometrical and elemental information with ever increasing accuracy and details. These advances warrant determining new relevant metrics for material characterization, the calculation of which will require adaptations of the methodologies for parameter extraction.

This study presents the development of a tool for the characterization of porous, heterogenous materials that provides coherent geometrical and topological information. We illustrate the relevance of the methodology by discussing the differences between geometrical concepts for estimating phase size distributions of real heterogeneous materials investigated using x-ray nanotomography and how research between different scales and physics can be bridged. This is achieved by providing, on the one hand, inputs to classical continuum models and, on the other hand, by synergetic combination with discrete element methods.

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