Quantifying and visualizing change: Strain monitoring of tapestries with digital image correlation

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Lennard, Frances; Dulieu-Barton, Janice M.;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 59, Number 4, p.241-255 (2014)


A three-year research project at the University of Southampton (2007–2010) investigated whether monitoring techniques commonly used by engineers to assess the strength and durability of materials could be usefully applied to inform the condition assessment of historic tapestries. To date it has not been possible to obtain an objective picture of the overall condition of a tapestry; the study investigated whether it is possible to identify precursors of structural damage. The two techniques, digital image correlation (DIC) and optical fibre sensors, were used to monitor a representative wool fabric, specially woven tapestry samples, a newly woven tapestry, and historic tapestries, both in the laboratory and in situ in a historic house. This study first sets out to answer the question: can DIC be used to monitor and visualize strain in historic tapestries? It is shown that DIC can be used successfully. Secondly, it discusses the map function, a novel development which allowed the monitoring equipment to be moved, so that it could be used in situ in a historic house. Thirdly, it provides further details of the experimental work using optical fibre sensors to confirm the accuracy of the DIC technique.