Towards High Performance Digital Volume Correlation

M. Gates, J. Lambros, M. T. Heath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We develop speed and efficiency improvements to a three-dimensional (3D) digital volume correlation (DVC) algorithm, which measures displacement and strain fields throughout the interior of a material. Our goal is to perform DVC with resolution comparable to that achieved in 2D digital image correlation, in time that is commensurate with the image acquisition time. This would represent a significant improvement over the current state-of-the-art available in the literature. Using an X-ray micro-CT scanner, we can resolve features at the 5 micron scale, generating 3D images with up to 36 billion voxels. We compute twelve degrees-of-freedom at each correlation point and utilize tricubic spline interpolation to achieve high accuracy. We improve the algorithm's speed and robustness through an improved coarse search, efficient implementation of spline interpolation, and using smoothing splines to address noisy image data. For DVC, the volume of data, number of correlation points, and work to solve each correlation point grow cubically. We therefore employ parallel computing to handle this tremendous increase in computational and memory requirements. We demonstrate the application of DVC using simulated deformations of 3D micro-CT scans of polymer samples with embedded particles forming an internal pattern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-507
Number of pages17
JournalExperimental Mechanics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Digital volume correlation
  • Parallel computing
  • Smoothing splines
  • Strain measurement
  • X-ray tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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