This work develops a strategy to benchmark image analysis tools that can used for the determination of contact fabric from tomographic images. The discrete element method is used to create and load a reference specimen for which the fabric and its evolution is precisely known. Chosen states of this synthetic specimen are turned into realistic images taking into account inherent image properties, such as the partial volume effect, blur and noise. The application of the image analysis tools on these images validates the findings of the metrological study and highlights the importance of addressing the identified shortcomings, i.e., the systematical over-detection of contacts and the strong bias of orientations when using common watersheds.

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