Comparison of subset-based local and finite element-based global digital image correlation

Bing Pan*, Bo Wang, Gilles Lubineau, Ali Moussawi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Subset-based local DIC and finite element-based (FE-based) global DIC are the two primary image matching methods that have been extensively investigated and regularly used in experimental mechanics community. Due to its straightforward implementation and high efficiency, subset-based local DIC has been used in almost all commercial DIC packages. However, it is assumed by some researchers that element-based global DIC offers better accuracy because of the enforced continuity between element nodes. Thus there is a pressing need to comprehensively examine the performance of these two DIC approaches. In this work, theoretical analyses of the standard deviation errors of classic subset-based DIC and two FE-based DIC techniques are first performed. Then, by measuring displacements of the same calculation points using the same calculation algorithms and identical calculation parameters, the performances of subset-based local DIC and two FE-based global DIC approaches are compared experimentally in terms of measurement error and computation efficiency using numerical tests and real experiments. A detailed examination of both the theoretical and experimental results reveals that, when subset (element) size is not very small, standard subset-based local DIC approach not only provides better results in measured displacements, but also demonstrates much higher computation efficiency. However, several special merits of FE-based global DIC approaches are indicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvancement of Optical Methods in Experimental Mechanics - Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Conference on Experimental and Applied Mechanics
EditorsLuciano Lamberti, Ming-Tzer Lin, Helena Jin, Sanichiro Yoshida
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9783319224459
StatePublished - 2016
EventAnnual Conference on Experimental and Applied Mechanics, 2015 - Costa Mesa, United States
Duration: Jun 8 2015Jun 11 2015

Publication series

NameConference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series
ISSN (Print)2191-5644
ISSN (Electronic)2191-5652


OtherAnnual Conference on Experimental and Applied Mechanics, 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCosta Mesa

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc. 2016.


  • Digital image correlation
  • Displacement measurement
  • Finite element
  • Subpixel
  • Subset

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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