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Time-Resolved Digital Image Correlation in the Scanning Electron Microscope for Analysis of Time-Dependent Mechanisms


Background: Advancements in the Digitial Image Correlation (DIC) technique over the past decade have greatly improved spatial resolution. However, many processes, such as plastic deformation, have a temporal component spanning from fractions of a second to minutes that has not yet been addressed in detail, particularly for DIC conducted in-situ in the scanning electron microscope (SEM). Objective: To develop a methodology for conducting time-resolved digital image correlation in the SEM for analysis of time-dependent mechanical deformation phenomena. Methods: Microscope and electron beam scanning parameters that influence the rate at which time-resolved DIC information is mapped are experimentally investigated, providing a guide for use over a range of timescales and resolutions. Results: Time-resolved DIC imaging is demonstrated on a Ti-7Al alloy, where slip band propagation is resolved with imaging dwell times of seconds. The limits of strain resolution and strain collection speeds are analyzed. Conclusions: The new developed methodology can be applied to a wide range of materials loaded in-situ to quantify time-dependent plastic deformation phenomena.

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The support of ONR Grant N00014-19-1-2129 is gratefully acknowledged. The authors gratefully acknowledge S. Daly for technical discussion. R. Geurts (FEI/TFS) is also acknowledged for useful discussions and contributions for the Autoscript microscope scripting interface. PGC was funded by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory under the auspices of the Office of Naval Research.

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Stinville, J., Francis, T., Polonsky, A. et al. Time-Resolved Digital Image Correlation in the Scanning Electron Microscope for Analysis of Time-Dependent Mechanisms. Exp Mech 61, 331–348 (2021).

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  • High resolution digital image correlation
  • Heaviside-DIC
  • Polycrystalline materials
  • Scanning electron microscopy digital image correlation
  • Strain localization
  • Real-time DIC
  • Strain relaxation
  • Time-resolved DIC measurements
  • SEM measurement variability and sensitivity