3D reconstruction of plagioclase crystals in a synthetic volcanic rock
The five following pictures depict the major steps of the design of a crystal in 3D with CATIA
3 successive layers corresponding to the edges of the same crystal on three different sections. These layers will be used to build the crystal in 3D.
Corners of each sections are linked to shape the crystal "skeleton"
Each lines which form the crystal are selected to create an object in 3D
Result of our design method for the 3D reconstruction of plagioclase crystals in the rock sample
Measurements of the short axis, the long axis and the maximal length of a plagioclase crystal using measurement tools under CATIA. These data are used to calculate the population density of crystals per interval size and thus to obtain the CSD of our sample.
Result of the 3D printing process. Physical model which enables us to study the crystal organization in the sample.
In the foreground, the synthetic sample of basalt created using an oxide powder. This basalt ball has a diameter of a few millimetres.
Measurements of the short axis, the long axis and the maximal length of a plagioclase crystal using measurement tools under CATIA
This graph is drawn from our thesis and represents CSD of the rock sample designed in 3D using CATIA. Logarithms of population density of crystals are plotted against crystal sizes.
Links (in purple) between crystals (in green) are designed under CATIA in order to print our model in 3D.

3D RECONSTRUCTION OF CRYSTALS IN A SYNTHETIC VOLCANIC ROCK

Created on 2016.05.26 129 views
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Here is a study using CATIA in an innovative field. No mechanics, no robotics, but geology. Don't believe it ? Read on to discover this amazing project !

Geological sciences are still rather unknown for most people but the discipline is fundamental to understand events of the past, to improve the world we live in and to design and build our future. That's why, Dassaut Systèmes and the Institut Polytechnique Lasalle have decided to pool their complementary resources through this innovative project which enables students and researchers to draw more precise conclusions from their observations by using a new method for the representation of their data.

We are 4 fourth years students preparing for a Master of Geosciences at Institut Polytechnique Lasalle in Beauvais, France. As part of our studies, one of our assignments is to conduct a research project in the field of geology. Our project focuses on the three dimensional (3D) reconstruction of crystals in a synthetic volcanic rock. The goal of this study is to correlate the thermal history of the rock (which is known) with its texture and crystal organization. 

What is unique about our project is that we are using CATIA in a field which is outside of traditional areas for which it has been designed, such as mechanics or robotics. We had to create and develop our own design methodology to build a 3D model of crystals from a series of two dimensional (2D) pictures of the sample, and it has been a very interesting and rewarding work. CATIA's utilities enable us to design manually each crystal, by testing and modifying different modeling strategies and to perform detailed measurements on crystal sizes.

A three-dimensional printing process has also been performed thanks to Dassault Systèmes. This object represents a powerful research tool about the relation between crystal organization and volcanic properties. The contribution of the 3D EXPERIENCE will enable students and researchers to study the parameters directly, which up to now has been approached with a theoretical perspective with numerical and material models. 

For more details, see our article "For curious people" in the section News of our project!

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