Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Mark Hinders


Photoelasticity is an optical technique that measures the difference of the principal stresses plus the principal stress direction. A complementary technique is thermoelasticity which measures the sum of the principal stresses. Combining these two full-field, non-contact nondestructive evaluation techniques allows the individual stress components to be measured. One of the main difficulties in merging these two measurement systems is in identifying an appropriate surface coating. Thermoelasticity demands a highly emissive surface, while photoelasticity requires a thick, stress-birefringent, transparent coating with a retro-reflective backing. Two coatings have been identified that can be used for combined thermoelastic and photoelastic stress measurements: PMMA and polycarbonate.;An anisotropic electromagnetic boundary value model was developed to understand more fully the mechanisms through which photoelastic stress patterns are produced. This model produced intensity contour maps which matched the fringe patterns observed in the laboratory, and allowed the effect of measurement errors on the calculated stress tensor to be quantified. One significant source of error was the retro-reflective backing, which depolarized the light and degraded the resulting photoelastic fringes. A quantitative analysis of the degraded fringes, to be used as a rating scheme for reflective backing materials, showed that the isoclinic lines shift position as a result of the backing roughness and oblique incidence. This is a concern when calculating the stress components through the combination of photoelasticity and thermoelasticity because the data maps are integrated at the pixel level. Small shifts in the photoelastic fringes result in incorrect information being assigned to some pixels and hence lead to uncertainties in the stress tensor components. Progress in the understanding of the depolarization at the reflective backing allows the specification of new materials that will minimize this effect, as well as the development of robust computer algorithms to correct for any remaining depolarization.



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