This paper proposes a fatigue crack evaluation technique based on digital image correlation (DIC) with statistically optimized adaptive subsets. In conventional DIC analysis, a uniform subset size is typically utilized throughout the entire region of interest (ROI), which is determined by experts’ subjective judgement. The basic assumption of the conventional DIC analysis is that speckle patterns are uniformly distributed within the ROI of a target image. However, the speckle patterns on the ROI are often spatially biased, augmenting spatially different DIC errors. Thus, a subset size optimization with spatially different sizes, called adaptive subset sizes, is needed to improve the DIC accuracy. In this paper, the adaptive subset size optimization algorithm is newly proposed and experimentally validated using an aluminum plate with sprayed speckle patterns which are not spatially uniform. The validation test results show that the proposed algorithm accurately estimates the horizontal displacements of 200 , 500 and 1 without any DIC error within the ROI. On the other hand, the conventional subset size determination algorithm, which employs a uniform subset size, produces the maximum error of 33% in the designed specimen. In addition, a real fatigue crack-opening phenomenon, which is a local deformation within the ROI, is evaluated using the proposed algorithm. The fatigue crack-opening phenomenon as well as the corresponding displacement distribution nearby the fatigue crack tip are effectively visualized under the uniaxial tensile conditions of 0.2, 1.0, 1.4 and 1.7 , while the conventional algorithm shows local DIC errors, especially at crack opening areas.
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