Characterization of the pore labyrinth geometry of sea sponges imaged by micro-CT

Timothy L. Kline, Erik L. Ritman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The internal pore labyrinths of sea sponges were characterized via the analysis of 3D micro-CT images. Methods were developed to isolate and segment the pores and to extract the pore 'skeleton', which facilitated the measurement of local pore dimensions and connectivity. These methods were also used to characterize the bulk pore properties such as porosity and structural surface-tovolume ratios, as well as individual pathway analysis in terms of lengths, diameters, and tortuosity. Also, the role that ciliated cells (lining the pores) might play in the transport of fluids throughout the pore labyrinth was explored. It was deduced that cilia may play a larger role in the transport of fluids through smaller diameter pathways and the highly interconnected pathways of the sponge results in a robust network that can maintain nutrient delivery/waste removal in the case of obstruction of some of the pore pathways. Finally, it is discussed how the information gained from this study might be applied to design synthetic porous tissue scaffolds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-151
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Porous Materials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Artificial cilia
  • Mathematical morphology
  • Segmentation
  • Synthetic tissue scaffolds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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