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Quantification of Three-Dimensional Surface Deformation using Global Digital Image Correlation

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A novel method is presented to experimentally quantify evolving surface profiles. The evolution of a surface profile is quantified in terms of in-plane and out-of-plane surface displacements, using a Finite Element based Global Digital Image Correlation procedure. The presented method is applied to a case study, i.e. deformation-induced surface roughening during metal sheet stretching. The surface roughness was captured in-situ using a confocal optical profiler. The Global Digital Image Correlation method with linear triangular finite elements is applied to track the three-dimensional material movement from the measured height profiles. The extracted displacement fields reveal the full-field kinematics accompanying the roughening mechanism. Local deviations from the (average) global displacements are the result of the formation, growth, and stretching of hills and valleys on the surface. The presented method enables a full-field quantitative study of the surface height evolution, i.e. in terms of tracked surface displacements rather than average height values such as Root-Mean-Square or height-height correlation techniques. However, the technique does require that an initial surface profile, i.e. contrast, is present and that the contrast change between two measurements is minimal.

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This research was carried out under the project number M63.2.09343a in the framework of the Research Program of the Materials innovation institute (M2i) ( The authors would also like to thank Tata Steel for providing the investigated material and Marc van Maris for providing experimental assistance.

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van Beeck, J., Neggers, J., Schreurs, P.J.G. et al. Quantification of Three-Dimensional Surface Deformation using Global Digital Image Correlation. Exp Mech 54, 557–570 (2014).

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