Synthetic Microstructure Generator

Generates a binary image with non-overlapping ellipses of varying sizes and distributions
Updated 10 Nov 2009

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Run "generate_synthetic_microstructures.m" to execute program! This tool generates a binary image with non-overlapping elliptical particles of varying aspect ratio, area fraction, and orientation. This zip file contains scripts that generate, place, and check for overlap in large numbers of ellipses in a computationally-efficient manner.

This tool was originally developed to examine the influence of particle aspect ratio, area fraction, and orientation on representative length scales in two-phase microstructures. This tool also includes the ability to generate particles with various distributions of particle sizes and orientations. Please cite reference #2 (Tschopp, Wilks, Spowart, “Multi-Scale Characterization of Orthotropic Microstructures,” MSMSE 16 (2008) 065009, ) if you use this program in your research. Our previous MATLAB submission, where these synthetic microstructures were used, explains the application of these microstructures…

“When assessing structure-property relationships for various materials, it is often necessary to define a representative length scale or volume element for characterization or simulation. The Multi-Scale Analysis of Area Fractions (MSAAF) technique characterizes the representative length scale of a two-phase composite microstructure (1). A previous MATLAB submission shows how to apply this technique in an isotropic form and a directional form; the directional form is used to assess the directional dependence of the length scale of the underlying microstructure. The directional form of the MSAAF technique has recently been applied to synthetic composite microstructures with second phase particles of varying area fraction, aspect ratio, and alignment (2). Additionally, the directional form has been modified such that it can be applied to any vector within the 2D microstructure image, i.e., the vector MSAAF technique (3). A visual representation of the vector MSAAF results has been used to show the change in the directional length scale as a function of the orientation of the vector.”

This MATLAB GUI script was developed as a computationally-efficient tool for researchers to design synthetic two-phase microstructures with elliptical particles in a voxelated image. This tool can be used to generate synthetic two-phase microstructures with little knowledge of the MATLAB programming required to obtain the results. For further information on the techniques or if you have comments, please contact Mark Tschopp at

(1) Spowart, Maruyama, Miracle, “Multi-Scale characterization of spatially heterogeneous systems: Implications for discontinuously reinforced metal matrix composite microstructures,” Materials Science & Engineering A 307 (2001) 51-66.
(2) Tschopp, Wilks, Spowart, “Multi-Scale Characterization of Orthotropic Microstructures,” MSMSE 16 (2008) 065009,
(3) Wilks, Tschopp, Spowart, “Multi-Scale Characterization of Inhomogeneous Morphologically Textured Microstructures” (2009), in press,

Cite As

Mark Tschopp (2024). Synthetic Microstructure Generator (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2007b
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

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Version Published Release Notes

Added a few lines of code to enable the particle size distribution feature, which was mistakenly left out in the last revision.

Added links to reference article [2].