Imaging is becoming more and more important in materials science and, probably, imaging techniques are evolving much quicker than any other characterization technique in this field. They have several advantages since they are contactless, non-destructive and sometimes costless tools compared to traditional techniques. In general, the development of novel imaging apparatus advance in the way of higher spatial and time resolution, trying to provide better or more precise information . This trend is in certain contrast with the regular habit of not using –in terms of the information provided– potential of image to the full. In many cases image is used as an “auxiliary post” that helps to confirm, in a qualitative way, the scientist argument. Thus, it is much less common finding materials research publications containing quantitative information (i.e. graphs plotting data directly obtained from images). Part of the problem is based on a mismatch of interests between the supplying company (provides a general purpose system/software) and the researcher (needs it for specific purpose). Thus, there is a need of tailored tools devoted to extract precise information from the obtained images.
Present work tries to show, by diverse examples, the potential of ImageJ in multidisciplinary quantitative materials characterization. In some cases the imaging set up used in the acquisition has been lab-designed substituting high cost equipments. In all the cases the analysis has been accurately performed by programming tailored-made rather complex functions based on ImageJ. Among others, we will present results on deformation processes by means of image tracking at different time scales and using different cameras set ups (materials recovery at 10-2Hz , materials deformation at 1Hz  and impact deformation at 103Hz ) as well as results on foam expandometry analysis creating dynamic multimedia video-graphs [5,6]. In some of previous cases it was necessary to create a novel non-linear video edition method to allow for better visualization of the processes. Nevertheless, most of previous examples need for image binarization as a step prior to the proper analysis, i.e. the pixel depth information is disregarded. By far, the excellence of image analysis is reached by considering the full information contained, and becomes particularly challenging in the cases of image sequences, since 4D (2D + t + pixel depth) information needs to be handled. In our work we will also present diverse examples for these kind of analysis from image sequences obtained from thermography , X-ray radioscopy diffusion monitoring [8, 9], and helical tomography . In all these last cases the analysis had to be maximum-tailored and advanced functions had to be designed specifically for each method.
As a conclusion of the exposed work, it seems evident the necessity of tailored image analysis to read-out fine numerical information from images. Moreover, in some cases imaging techniques can substitute traditional apparatus in materials science, with the low-cost additional motivation. It seems evident that imaging techniques will continuously grow during next decades but then, the latent necessity of specific image analysis tools will become evident.
 F. García-Moreno et al. Applied Physics Letters 92(13), 134104, 2008.
 MA. Rodriguez-Perez, J. L. Ruiz Herrero, E. Solorzano, J. A. de Saja, Cellular Polymers, 25, 221-236, 2006.
 E. Solorzano, M. A. Rodriguez-Perez, E. Valtuille, J. A. de Saja, Polymer Testing, 26, 946-854, 2007.
 M. A. Rodriguez-Perez, F. Hidalgo, E. Solorzano, J. A. de Saja, Polymer Testing, 28, 188-195, 2009.
 M. A. Rodriguez-Perez, E. Solorzano, F. Garcia-Moreno, J. A. de Saja, The Time-Uncoupled Aluminium Free Expansion: Intrinsic Anisotropy by Foaming Under Conventional Conditions. Porous Metals and Metalic Foams Eds: L.P. Lefebvre, J. Banhart, D. C. Dunand 75-78, 2008.
 J. Lázaro, E. Laguna, E. Solórzano, Y. Houbaert, M. A. Rodriguez-Pérez Effect of microstructural anisotropy of PM precursors on foaming expansion. 6th International Conference on Porous Material and Metallic Foams, 2009
 E. Solorzano, F. Garcia-Moreno, N. Babcsan, J. Banhart, Journal of Nondestructive Evaluation, 28(3), 141-148, 2009.
 A. Griesche, B. Zhang, E. Solórzano, F. Garcia-Moreno Review of Scientic Instruments 81, 056104 (2010);
 E. Solórzano, J. Escudero, J. Pinto, M.A. Rodriguez-Perez, J.A. de Saja X-ray Radioscopy In-Situ Monitoring of Diffusion Mechanisms During the Production of Structural Foams. 6th International Conference on Diffusion in Solids and Liquids, Paris, 2010.
 E. Solórzano, J. Escudero, J. Lázaro, M.A. Rodríguez-Pérez, J.A. de Saja. Obtaining Critical Cooling Velocities Maps for Thermal Hardening Treatments in Aluminium Foams: Density Characterization, Finite Elements Analysis, Experimental Validation and Final Results in: Porous Metals and Metalic Foams Eds: L.P. Lefebvre, J. Banhart, D. C. Dunand 505-508, 2008
Materials, X-rays, foams, thermography
Presenting author: E. Solorzano
Organisation: (a) Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH, Hahn-Meitner-Platz 1, 14109 Berlin, Germany
co-authors: J. Pinto (b)
M.A. Rodriguez-Perez (b)
F. Garcia-Moreno (a)
(b)CellMat Laboratory, Condensed Matter Physics Department, University of Valladolid, 47011 Valladolid, Spain.