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Guide for Matlab

Photomechanics are a suite of experimental techniques, which use optics (photo) to solve problems, in mechanics.

These techniques which have been in existence for quite some time have always lagged behind other experimental techniques, notably the electrical strain gauge method. Furthermore, numerical techniques such as the Finite Element Method were developed as alternatives to experimental mechanics with great success. The mainreason for the restricted use of photomechanics is the difficult interpretation of data and lack of post- processing routines and display. While the fringe pattern, the end product of the optical method, provides whole-field visualization of deformation or stress and strain, it is not presented in a form useful to an engineer. There is a need to process the fringe pattern further and display quantitative information in a manner that is best suited for the problem being solved. Both experimental and numerical means have been proposed to delineate the necessary information from the fringe patterns. In particular, over the last couple of decades, various attempts have been made to automate these techniques via software. However, in general the software is too specific, built more for the patterns and images of the developer's laboratory. Furthermore, it cannot always be tailored or modified for the images that are obtained in the end-users experiment. Thus the onus is on the user to develop his own software. This is generally time consuming and detracts from the original intention of the user to test a particular application.

With this in mind, this primer is written to assist the user in getting started with the experimental analysis quickly. It is based on MATLAB which has dedicated and optimized routines for a variety of image processing tasks. These can be readily scripted together along with some additional mathematical expressions for any specific experimental technique. This primer assumes that the reader has some background knowledge in optical methods for strain analysis. Except where necessary, no effort is made to explain basic concepts of these methods in detail. Suitable references are provided which will allow the reader to have a deeper understanding of the optical method. In particular, effort is put into explaining the concepts of some of the newer techniques, which use MATLAB as the tool for data processing, and the particular equations that are programmed in the MATLAB m-files. The theories in some cases are interspersed with the MATLAB routines.

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