Dr. Daniel Whisler likes to crash things. When it comes to studying how materials respond to impacts and other extreme loading conditions, that’s a good thing. For example, his research informs the development of new, safer materials for human protection.
Whisler is a member of the Impact Group at California State University Long Beach (CSULB), where he studies the dynamic impact behavior of various materials and structures. These materials often include flexible polymer composites, which can be difficult to measure using traditional sensor-based techniques. When sensors aren't used another testing methods used is traditional DIC (Digital Image Correlation) which includes speckled paint and special software. Both of these testing methods have positives and negatives depending on a situation.
On occasion though, neither option works for a particular test. For this reason, Whisler and his team have devised a novel method to measure the dynamic response of composites using high-speed color cameras—putting a new, colorful spin on traditional measurement techniques.