Speckle photography and displacement analysis of large structures : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Production Technology at Massey University
This research demonstrates the feasibility of a full-field photographic method for remotely measuring the movement of large deforming objects. 'Large objects' could include civil engineering structures such as dam walls, buildings and bridges, and geological phenomena such as glaciers. Such structures must be examined in situ and preferably by a non contacting method. The objective is to measure motion from time lapsed photographs of the moving object. The method is based on speckle photography which is a well developed optical metrology technique for deformation measurement of engineering structures in laboratory conditions. Its application to large scale structures illuminated in sunlight at high imaging demagnifications has demanded some significant extensions and modifications to the technique. Imaging these large objects offers a unique set of challenges which include the establishment of rigid tripods from which to take the time lapsed photographs in rugged glacial terrain, the variation of illumination in terms of both quality and angle of incidence, imaging through several kilometres of turbulent atmosphere and recording the signature texture of the object surface onto film at high imaging demagnifications. The effects of these factors are considered both conceptually and experimentally, providing fundamental understanding of the problem. Displacement analysis is performed primarily by interrogation of time lapsed negative pairs using an unexpanded laser beam, as is generally the case in speckle photography. An automated system is developed to make practical the analysis of multiple points in the field of view. In parallel, a new digital technique is introduced where displacement results are obtained by pattern matching in digital versions of the speckle images. This analysis method is shown to be highly suitable for the application to glacier flow. Registration of the pair of time lapsed images is performed by calculating the affine transform describing the image misalignment (introduced at either the recording or analysis stage) within the non-deforming areas of the field of view. Use of this novel technique allows pairs of single exposures, rather than double exposures, to be examined, and it also increases the sensitivity of measurement. Two dimensional motion fields representing glacier flow are presented, leading to the conclusion that the technique is feasible in sunlight illumination, for a variety of glacial surface types and at high imaging demagnifications.