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Virtual Conference
7-9 August 2021

Conference Chairs: Professor Hari Arora (Swansea University) and Dr Daniel Mulvihill (University of Glasgow)

The conference was held at the University of Sheffield in the centenary year for the Departments of Mechanical, Civil and Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Steeped in industrial and Victorian heritage, the conference showcased novel and innovative research in Experimental Mechanics, fitting well in the latter two activities.  

In additional to a stimulating technical programme and the ‘traditional extras’, including the BSSM EMex exhibition of experimental mechanics and the BSSM Young Stress Analyst Competition, delegates also had the opportunity to explore Sheffield’s industrial past at the conference dinner at the Kelham Island Industrial Museum.

Conference Programme


Tuesday 07th September 2021

Tuesday 07th September 2021

09:30 Introduction & Welcome (Main Conference Room)
Conference Co-Chairs: Hari Arora (Swansea University) and Daniel Mulvihill (University of Glasgow)

Conference Room 1

Session 1.1a Chair: Yang Xu

Fatigue and Fracture I

09:40 J-integral analysis of the strain fields of micro-cracks in single silicon crystal using HR-EBSD
A. Koko,
University of Oxford, UK

10:00 Effect of high temperature exposure on the fatigue damage development of X10CrMoVNb9-1 steel for power plant pipes.
D. Kukla
Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

10:20 The concept of improving the fracture toughness of double-phase high entropy alloy produced by high-pulse sintering method U-FAST
D. Górniewicz
Military University of Technology, Poland

10:40 Fatigue crack initiation from corrosion pits in sour fluid
F. Farhad
Northumbria University, UK

Conference Room 2
Session 1.1b Chair : TBC
Testing of Composite Materials and Structures
Novel Embedded Sensor for Damage Defection and Monitoring In Composite Materials and Adhesively Bonded Joints
G. Ólafsson
University of Bristol, UK
Development of a multiaxial test for a wind blade substructure
J. Callaghan
University of Southampton, UK
Influence of stacking sequence on the open-hole shear strength of composite laminates
T. Laux
University of Bristol, UK
Investigation of interfacial behaviour of single glass fibre/matrix composites by using single glass fibre fragmentation test
Y. Cao
University of Glasgow, UK

11:00 Break

Conference Room 1

Session 1.2a Chair: John Mulvihill

Biomechanics & Biomaterials

11:10 A New Test for Controllable Loading of Cells in the Ultrasonic Regime
A. Marek
University of Southampton, UK

11:30 Developing a Precision-cut Tissue Sectioning Protocol for Fresh Porcine Colonic Tissue for Downstream Mechanical Analysis
C. McCarthy
University of Limerick, Ireland

11:50 Feasibility of a free-fall drop test rig to replicate head impact scenarios in ice hockey
D. Haid
Sheffield Hallam University

12:10 Biaxial Creep Behavior of the Apical Vaginal Support in Gilts
K. Donaldson
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Conference Room 2
Session 1.2b Chair: Hari Arora
Dynamic loading and high strain rate I
Predicting the high strain rate response of natural rubber particulate composites
A. Trivedi
University of Oxford, UK

Improved diagnostics for structural response and impulse transfer in blast experiments
G. Langdon
University of Sheffield

Shock tube testing of deformable structures: A novel experimental set-up
K. Brekken
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Thermomechanical Constitutive Response of a Near α Titanium Alloy Over a Wide Range of Strain Rates
L. Zhang
University of Oxford

12:30 Lunch Break


13:30 Plenary Session – Main Conference Room Chair: Daniel Mulvihill
Microstructure-sensitive fatigue crack nucleation and growth: examples in HPC, BCC and FCC alloys
Prof Fionn Dunne FREng, Chair of Micromechanics, Imperial College, London



Conference Room 1
Session 1.3a Chair: Charchit Kumar


14:30 Identification of Hyper-viscoelastic models from one heterogeneous test for elastomers
A. Tayeb
University of Rennes, France

14:50 Revisiting the deformation mechanisms in rubbers from surface calorimetry-based energy characterization
J-B. Le Cam
University of Rennes, France

15:10 Surface calorimetry under large deformations of rubbers: a bi-dimensional heat source field reconstruction method in the Lagrangian configuration
J. Trubert
University of Rennes, France
15:30 Fabrication of auxetic closed cell foam in a pressure vessel
O. Duncan
Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

Conference Room 2
Session 1.3b Chair: TBC
Digital Image Correlation
2D and Stereo Digital Image Correlation Written in MATLAB
D. Atkinson
Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Accurate Strain Field Measurement during Strip Rolling by exploiting Recurring Material Motion in Integrated Digital Image Correlation
J. Hoefnagels,
Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands

Digital Image Correlation in Monitoring Strain Fields Across Historical Tapestries: Tool for Accuracy Assessment
K. Nwanoro
Lancaster University, UK

Improve the finite element predictions by using more accurate material properties obtained from Digital Image Correlation
H. Alabdouli
Technology innovation institute, United Arab Emirates

15:50 Break

Conference Room 1
Session 1.4a Chair: Chris Triantafyllou

Metals & microstructure –

16:00 Effect of temperature changing rate on phase transformation in magnetic shape memory alloy
E. Omotosho
Northumbria University, UK

16:20 Microstructure and damage evolution of Ti6Al4V under fast forming conditions
M. Kopec
Polish Academy of Sciences
16:40 Enabling True Stress Strain to Fracture with DIC at Elevated temperatures
R. Spenser
UK Atomic Energy Authority

17:00 Strain rate sensitivity of Zircaloy-4
Y. Liu
Imperial College London


17:20 Contour Method Residual Stress Uncertainty Evaluation and Sensitivity Analysis: a Friction Stir Welded Plate Case-Study
A. Tognan
University of Udine, Italy

Conference Room 2
Session 1.4b Chair: TBC
Infrared & thermal methods

Infrared deflectometry
F. Pierron
University of Southampton, UK

Assessment of Hot-spots in Structures Using the IR Quasi-Static Method
J. Freire
Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Experimental analysis of energy conversion during deformation process based on coupled DIC and IRT results
S. Musiał
Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

Full field vibration measurements on a cantilever beam under impact using visible and infrared deflectometry
S. Boubanga
Telops Inc.
Evaluation of a low-cost setup for quantitative Thermoelastic Stress Analysis
G. Pitarresi
University of Palermo, Italy

17:50 Online Social Reception

18:45 End of Day 1

09:30 Wednesday 8th September 2021

Conference Room 1

Session 2.1a Chair: TBC

Fatigue and Fracture II
09:30 Evaluating the Effect of the Filler Amount on the Crack Growth Behavior of Rubber and the Strain Distribution in the Vicinity of a Crack
H. Mitamura
Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan

09:50 An investigation on the capability of different constraint parameters­­ for characterizing in-plane and out-of-plane constraints
Z. Chen
University of Bristol, UK

10:10 Determination of Small-Specimen Crack Initiation Behaviour in Nuclear Graphite using Combined Full-Field Strain Measurement and Finite Element Simulation
M. Jordan
National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), UK

10:30 Linking concrete critical length to the mesoscopic structure
N. Alanazi
University of Sheffield, UK

Conference Room 2
Session 2.1b Chair: TBC
Biomaterials & Biomechanics II

Spontaneous hydrogel gripper driven by free swelling
Z. Qin
Northumbria University, UK

Assessment of the Mechanical Properties of Transdermal Devices
S. McIntyre
Swansea University, UK

Obtaining the High Strain Rate Properties of Bone Using the Image-Based Inertial Impact (IBII) Test
L. Fletcher
University of Southampton, UK
Mechanical and Structural Characterisation of the Human Meninges
J. Mulvihill
University of Limerick, Ireland

10:50 Break and EMex 21 Exhibition



Conference Room 1

Session 2.2a Chair: Hari Arora

Dynamic loading and high strain rate II
11:10 Mesoscale In-situ Measurement of Deformation and Temperature of an Additively Manufactured Energetic Material Simulant under Dynamic Loading
A. Keyhani
Exponent Inc.
11:30 Validation of an FE Model for Lethality Prediction of PBLI Using an Additive Manufactured ATD
D.A. Howells
Swansea University, UK

11:50 The interplay between modelling and experimentation in blast response research
E. Pickering
University of Sheffield, UK

12:10 Determination of transient behaviour and spatial impulse distributions of Armox 440T plates subjected to explosions in air
R. Curry
University of Sheffield, UK

Conference Room 2
Session 2.2b Chair: Daniel Mulvihill
Tribology and Contact I
A round robin friction hysteresis test at Politecnico di Torino and Imperial College London
A. Fantetti
Imperial College, London

Rotary Damper using elastomer particles: Effect on damping torque due to different type of elastomers
A. Rakhio
Nagoya institute of Technology, Japan
Influence of Asperity Deformation on Linear and Nonlinear Interfacial Stiffness in Dry Rough Surface Contact
S. Taghizadeh
University of Sheffield, UK
Repeatability and tailoring of contact stiffness via micro-structured surfaces
J. Perris
University of Glasgow, UK

12:30 EMex 21 Exhibitor Introductions – Main Conference Room

12:50 Lunch and EMex 21 Exhibition





Conference Room 1

Session 2.3a Chair: Hari Arora

High Strain Rate behaviour of Composite Materials
14:00 An investigation into the effect of different patch variables on the impact performance of repaired CFRPs.
Z. Hall
Imperial College London, UK

14:20 The Perforation Resistance of Fibre Metal Laminates Subjected to High-velocity Oblique Impact
Y. Ding
Imperial College London, UK
14:40 Transient response and failure of composites containing sustainable materials subjected to air blast
S. Gabriel
University of Cape Town, South Africa

Conference Room 2
Session 2.3b Chair: Daniel Mulvihill
Tribology and Contact II

Quantitative assessment of real contact area on complex topographies and its role in attachment-detachment mechanisms
C. Kumar
University of Glasgow, UK

Origin of the Contact Force-Dependent Response of Triboelectric Nanogenerators
G. Min
University of Glasgow, UK
Isochromatic fringe features for a crack under contact loading
G. Ramaswamy
Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India

15:00 BSSM Young Stress Analyst Competition – Conference Room 2 Co-Chairs: Neha Chandarana and Akash Trivedi

1. Finalist 1
2. Finalist 2
3. Finalist 3
4. Finalist 4
16:10 Plenary Session – Main Conference Room Chair: H. Arora
BSSM Measurements Lecture 2021
Martensite-ferrite nano-plasticity and slip transfer unravelled by two-sided high-resolution SEM-DIC and EBSD on isolated interfaces
Prof. Johan Hoefnagels, Eindhoven University of Technology (Editor-in-Chief, Strain)

17:10 Announcement of YSA Winner and Online Social Reception following the Measurements Lecture

18:30 End of Day 2

Thursday 9th September 2021

Conference Room 1

Session 3.1a Chair: TBC

Full-Field Imaging Techniques for Composite Materials & Structures
09:30 Assessment of damage in multi-directional laminates using full field imaging
R. Ruiz Iglesias
University of Bristol, UK

09:50 Failure envelops based on full field assessment of CFRP subjected to multiaxial loading
G. Ólafsson
University of Southampton, UK

10:10 Progress in TSA of large composite structures
J. Barton
University of Bristol, UK

10:30 Full-field techniques for validation of numerical models of composite structures; an overview of progress in the CERTEST project
O. Thomsen
University of Bristol, UK

Conference Room 2
Session 3.1b Chair: TBC
Model Validation
Application of a model validation protocol to an aircraft cockpit panel
E. Patterson
University of Liverpool, UK

Data decomposition with Tchebichef moments for validation of computational
H. Vargas
Universidad de Alcalá, Spain
Finite element modelling validation of fibre orientation inversion in CFRP using high-frequency eddy-current testing
Q. Yi
University of Bristol, UK

10:50 Break

11:00 Plenary Session – Main Conference Room Chair: H. Arora
3D Strain measurement in living people using MRI and identification of nonlinear material parameters using the virtual fields method
Prof. Sam Evans, Head of School of Engineering, University of Cardiff




13:00 Plenary Session – Main Conference Room

Open Debate: The Future of Experimental Mechanics
Panel: Prof. Janice Barton, Prof. Ole Thybo Thomsen, Prof. Fabrice Pierron

Conference Room 1

Session 3.2a Chair : TBC

Fatigue and Fracture III
14:00 Digital Image Correlation as an effective tool for fatigue damage monitoring
M. Kopec
Imperial College London, UK
14:20 Experimental Informed Crack Behaviour Simulation of Ink-jet Printing Carbon Fiber Composites
Q. Lu
University of Oxford, UK

14:40 Understanding the effect of microstructure on fracture resistance and damage accommodation of nuclear graphite using high resolution synchrotron X-RAY tomography diffraction and fast tomography
T. Zillhardt
University of Oxford, UK
15:00 Towards low-cost condition monitoring for crack detection based on thermal emissions
K. Amjad
University of Liverpool

Conference Room 2
Session 3.2b Chair: TBC
Tomography & Digital Volume Correlation

Towards identification of local material properties of a ductile cast iron using Synchrotron Radiation micro Computed Tomography, Digital Volume Correlation and FE modelling
E. Dartfeldt
Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE), Sweden

A multi-purpose, hygro-thermo-mechanical, in-situ x-ray CT tester
J. Hoefnagels
Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands
Self-adaptive digital volume correlation for accurate internal deformation measurements
X. Zou
Beihang University, China
Microstructural analysis of SiC/SiC composites by X-ray tomography scans of progressive CVI matrix deposition
Y. Chen
University of Oxford, UK

15:20 Break

15:30 Plenary Session – Main Conference Room Chair: Johan Hoefnagels
BSSM Best Paper in ‘Strain’ Fylde Prize for 2019
Strain and stress mapping by mechanochemical activation of spiropyran in poly(methyl methacrylate)
Prof Asha-Dee Celestine, Auburn University, USA (

15:50 Plenary Session – Main Conference Room Chair: Johan Hoefnagels
Fylde Strain Best Paper Competition winner 2020

Conference Room 1

Session 3.3a Chair: TBC

Optical Techniques (DIC, Moire & Photoelastic)

16:20 A Digital Image Correlation (DIC) - based technique for measuring Chemical Cure Shrinkage (CCS) evolution
J. McArdle
University of Bristol, UK

16:40 Extracting the orthotropic stiffness components of bone using DIC and the Virtual Fields Method
P. Tavianatou
University of Southampton, UK
17:00 Displacement measurement of concrete bridges by the sampling moiré method
R. Shien
National Metrology Institute of Japan, Japan

17:20 Rational design of a new reflection photoelastic coating
W. Fraser
University of Sheffield, UK

Conference Room 2
Session 3.3b Chair : TBC
Composites and Polymers
An investigation of the interfacial strain transfer of optical fibres embedded in fast curing epoxy resins.
B. Seers
University of Sheffield, UK
Machine learning tools for predicting mechanical properties of elastomers.
G. Delahaye
Université de Rennes, France

An optimisation-based technique for predicting strains in defective composite laminates
X. Li
University of Liverpool, UK

Characterisation of damage in composites using acoustic emission and finite element analysis, validated by X-ray computed tomography
N. Chandarana
University of Manchester, UK

17:40 Closing Plenary Session – Main Conference Room
Conference Co-Chairs: Hari Arora & Daniel Mulvihill

17:50 Conference close




Keynote Presentation

"Linking Length Scales: Investigating the Effect of Microscale Strain Localization on Macroscopic Response"
Professor Sam Daly, Associate Professor from the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Samantha Daly is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California at Santa Barbara. She received her PhD from the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech in 2007 and subsequently joined the faculty at the University of Michigan, where she was on the faculty until 2016 prior to her move to UCSB.

Her interests lie at the intersection of experimental mechanics and materials science, with an emphasis on using novel methods of experimentation coupled closely with theoretical and computational modeling. Group research focuses on the statistical quantification of microstructural features of materials and their effect on meso- and macro-scale properties. Currently, the group is engaged in the development of novel methods of multi-scale material characterization, with application to structural metallic alloys, active materials, advanced composites, very high cycle and low cycle fatigue mechanisms, plasticity, fracture, and material behavior at the microscale. Her recognitions include the NSF CAREER Award, the ASME Eshelby Mechanics Award, the Journal 
of Strain Analysis Young Investigator Award, the Experimental Mechanics Best Paper of the Year Award, the IJSS Best Paper of the Year Award, the DOE Early Career Award, the AFOSR-YIP Award, the ASME Orr Award, and the Caddell Award.


The accurate measurement of deformation in response to thermo-mechanical loads is a fundamental requirement in the characterization of materials and structures. Of particular interest is the connection between the macroscopic and microscopic length scales, where strain localization at the grain or constituent level can play critical roles in overall material deformation and ultimate failure of the material. The identification of specific microstructural characteristics that lead to local damage accumulation and accelerated failure, and their mitigation, is key for the informed development and optimization of materials. This talk will present our recent work on exploring these connections using a combination of distortion-corrected digital image correlation and scanning electron microscopy to measure deformation fields at small length scales, including a new use of functionalized nanoparticles for deformation tracking. These approaches enable us to glean critical insights into material behavior, including the impact of microstructure on damage accumulation in aerospace composites and the relationship between processing and performance in metallic alloys. Recent studies on metallic alloys will be discussed as an illustrative example of these emerging experimental approaches and the meaningful analysis of their application.

Keynote Presentation

"Credibility in computational biology based on experimental mechanics"
Professor Eann Patterson, University of Liverpool

Eann Patterson holds the AA Griffith Chair in Structural Materials and Mechanics at the University of Liverpool where he is also a University Learning and Teaching Fellow. He held a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award from 2011 to 2016 and previously held joint appointments in Departments of Mechanical Engineering and of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Michigan State University from 2004 to 2011. He earned his BEng and PhD at the University of Sheffield, where he was a member of staff from 1985 to 2004.

He is a fellow of Society for Experimental Mechanics and is a recipient of their Frocht Award and Zandman Award.


In a digital world where physical tests are often perceived to be difficult, time-consuming, unreliable, and expensive, what is the role of experimental mechanics? One answer to this question is to develop measurement techniques that are more straightforward, quick, more reliable and cheaper. And, many researchers have tackled these challenges with considerable success and, often by embracing digital technologies. An alternative answer is to celebrate the richness of the data generated by well-designed physical tests incorporating the best in experimental mechanics and to develop data analysis and interpretation techniques that maximise the impact of test data on modelling and decision- making. The latter requires experimental mechanicians to think about epistemiology, or how we know what we know, and how to communicate that knowledge to stakeholders and decision-makers. This is not straightforward for a complex engineering system and becomes an order of magnitude more difficult in computational biology when the design is undefined, the system is non-linear and exhibits emergent behaviour, and experiments might yield limited on no quantitative data. These issues will be explored, starting from efforts in aerospace and nuclear engineering to establish credibility in computational mechanics models using experimental mechanics, and progressing to the transition of the concepts into computational biology and current work on establishing credibility for predictive toxicology in support of regulatory processes.

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