Microstructural analysis of non-woven fabrics using scanning electron microscopy and image processing. Part 1: development and verification of the methods

This paper reports image analysis methods that have been developed to study the microstructural changes of non-wovens made by the hydroentanglement process. The validity of the image processing techniques has been ascertained by applying them to test images with known properties. The parameters in preprocessing of the scanning electron microscope (SEM) images used in image processing have been tested and optimized. The bre orientation distribution is estimated using fast Fourier transform (FFT) and Hough transform (HT) methods. The results obtained using these two methods are in good agreement. The HT method is more demanding in computational time compared with the Fourier transform (FT) method. However, the advantage of the HT method is that the actual orientation of the lines can be concluded directly from the result of the transform without the need for any further computation. The distribution of the length of the straight bre segments of the fabrics is evaluated by the HT method. The effect of curl of the bres on the result of this evaluation is shown.