Digital Image Correlation (DIC) can be used to obtain full-field strain information on specimens under load. Through analysis of the resultant strain-contours, defects such as delaminations in composite materials can be detected, based on their effect on the deformation behaviour. This work focusses on the use of the DIC technique and two variations of active thermography (lock-in thermography and pulse thermography) for determining the lengths of delaminations in ?milled-slot? specimens; for each technique, the measured delamination lengths have been compared with visually observed (i.e. photographed) delaminations grown under fatigue loading in transparent woven fabric GFRP specimens. In addition, the DIC results have been interpreted with the aid of a finite element model of the strain distribution in the milled-slot specimens.
It has been found that the DIC technique provides a reasonably good method for measuring the length of the fatigue-grown delaminations after an empirical fit is applied, with the aid of the FE analysis, to overcome complications caused by fibre-bridging. On the other hand, the results using both lock-in and pulse thermography showed reasonable correlations with the visually observed (i.e. photographed) delamination lengths without the need for an empirical fit, although some post-processing of the data was required. For both thermography techniques, there were difficulties in determining the delamination lengths close to the edge of the milled slot.