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2D Digital Image Correlation (DIC)

Obtain valuable additional information on specimen behavior together with standard strain measurement!
ZwickRoell’s DIC makes local strains visible in 2D over the entire specimen surface.

Description Examples Difference 2D / 3D Specimen preparation Procedure Analysis tools Testing machines

What is 2D digital image correlation?

2D digital image correlation visualizes deformations and strain over the entire visible specimen surface. The non-contact videoXtens extensometer records image series during the test, compares image by image, and calculates the displacement in a pre-defined facet field, where each facet includes a specified number of camera pixels. This data is used to create two-dimensional color strain maps, which allow you to analyze the specimen behavior at a glance.

Examples of 2D DIC analyses

ZwickRoell 2D digital image correlation (abbr.: DIC) offers you different DIC analysis options, including:

  • Color displays of specimen behavior provide indications of inhomogeneous local strain and other special features.
  • Local strains can be determined via the cutting line and point measurements, as well as via virtual strain gauges and virtual gauge lengths.
  • You can also analyze components, complex specimens with notches or non-homogeneous materials.
  • Verify your live strain measurement results.
  • Errors in the test arrangement, such as inaccurate specimen alignment quickly become visible.

Specific application examples:

You have a wide selection of analytical tools and diagram displays at your disposal for the analysis process.

Difference between 2D and 3D digital image correlation

Many applications do not require 3D DIC. Two-dimensional DIC analysis is sufficient if the measurement surface is flat and there is no twisting, no tilting of the surface, and no significant lateral specimen movement occurs during the test.

A 3D DIC system is used for three-dimensional measurements, for example of components and round specimens, and requires special hardware and software. A system for 3D digital image correlation can be connected to the materials testing machine via a module.

Specimen preparation for 2D DIC

A high-contrast pattern can simply and quickly be sprayed onto the specimen.

Additional markings are not necessary for the live strain measurement. Virtual gauge marks are placed on the existing pattern through the software.


Example of a 2D DIC analysis process

Example of a 2D DIC analysis process

1. Defining masks and grids
4. Test re-run

1. Defining masks and grids

Easily define the image region to be analyzed by means of a mask. Using a toolbox of mask geometries such as circles or polygons, you can also create irregular masks or define recesses. You also have the option of using multiple masks for which different resolutions can be specified.

Three very helpful default settings are available to define the facets and resolution. Settings can also be individually selected or adjusted. In addition, measurements can be carried out on different planes that have varying distances to the test axis, which is the case with offset specimens for example. Here, the distance from the specimen plane to the test axis can be individually adjusted.


The correlation is used to calculate the displacements and strains between facets using the parameters defined in the mask. Images such as those recorded after specimen fracture can be selectively deselected for the correlation.


You have a wide selection of analytical tools and displays at your disposal for the analysis process.

The color map and diagram are clearly displayed in a common analysis layout. Analytical tools, such as gauge lengths, can be dragged on the color map to move them, simultaneously displaying current values in the diagram – without time delay! You can use the timeline to access any point in time within the test and apply the analysis tools precisely to the essential regions.

4. Test re-run

Results of the individual 2D DIC analysis tools are combined with the measured values of the live test via the test re-run option in testXpert.

From these combinations, material characteristic values can also be recalculated retrospectively.

What is special about the cutting line in 2D DIC?

With the cutting line, strain progression is displayed along or diagonally across the specimen. The cutting line deforms along with the specimen. It is therefore not a fixed part of the image, but rather a line that actually follows the behavior of the specimen throughout the test.

One special function of the cutting line is the cutting line stack: selected time steps can be displayed in a diagram, allowing you to see the development of the cutting line over time.

What makes virtual strain gauges so efficient?

Virtual strain gauges are efficient because they provide a cost-effective alternative to adhesive strain gauges. This eliminates the time required to apply the strain gauges.

The virtual strain gauges are flexible: position, size and angle are individually determined. They can also be placed on top of each other,whereby two virtual strain gauges create a biaxial strain gauge with measuring grids oriented at 90° to each other.

In addition to local strain information at the strain gauge position, 2D DIC also provides a view of the entire specimen.

What is the benefit of vector maps?

Vector maps display the main strain directions. This makes the strain conditions visible over the entire evaluation range and you quickly gain a good overall understanding of what is going on with the specimen.

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