Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Architectural Engineering


Architectural Engineering


College of Architecture and Environmental Design


Anahid Behrouzi

Advisor Department

Architectural Engineering

Advisor College

College of Architecture and Environmental Design


This thesis investigates the appropriateness of a simplified, open-source digital image correlation (DIC) software for use in quasi-static, structural testing utilizing two-dimensional (2D) DIC measurements. DIC is a non-contact optical measurement technique that uses computer vision to track unique attributes on the surface of an object. For structural testing, traditional instrumentation such as displacement sensors and strain gages are impractical for full field measurements due their limited ability to capture large amounts of data. However, over the past decade, DIC has proven a successful method for full-field kinematics measurements, making it an appealing tool for collecting high densities of accurate data. This thesis specifically studies the accuracy and limitations of the DIC software, MODEM, for various test specimens and loading conditions.

This research work is part of an experimental program comprised of three phases. The first stage was conducted by another investigator on aluminum coupons tested in pure tension. These results were used to calibrate parameters (speckle pattern density, lighting, and camera settings) used with the DIC software. The second stage included pure compression tests on concrete cubes and concrete cylinders to compare the difference in results between: (i) surface curvature, (ii) camera distance, (iii) surface treatment, and (iv) speckle pattern color. The final stage involved analysis of a tension test of a concrete prism completed at the University of Auckland in an effort to assess how MODEM could be utilized to accurately detect onset and propagation of concrete cracking.

Results showed the most accurate DIC strains were within 5% error when compared to traditional instrumentation for aluminum loaded in tension and within 6% error for concrete loaded in compression/tension. This level of accuracy is comparable to existing open source and commercial DIC software utilizing 2D DIC analysis. Therefore, MODEM can be used to provide accurate 2D DIC strain measurements for small and medium scale structural test specimens when using the following parameters: (i) the surface of the specimen is planar, (ii) the camera is placed accordingly so the maximum amount of zoom can be used, (iii) the surface of a test specimen is free of debris or imperfections, and (iv) a high contrast and evenly distributed speckle pattern is used.

Computational analysis of the results showed that known material properties can be used to calibrate, or remove errors from, the DIC results when traditional instrumentation is not available. Additionally, results showed MODEM strain contours can be used for initial detection of cracks in concrete loaded in tension while MODEM tracking performance can be used to characterize the centerline and orientation of cracks.

The experimental tests provide critical information on how to set up, run, and analyze DIC results when using MODEM. The full field measurements are of value in providing accurate data for structural testing to develop a better understanding of material response and structural performance, since large-scale tests are typically limited by a sparse number of data points when using traditional instrumentation.