When dealing with the mechanics of deformable bodies, the variation of the applied force is one of the most important factors to be considered. The mechanical force acting on a body cannot be measured directly. If a body is loaded quasi-statically and if the body deforms linear-elastically, the deformation at any point of the body is proportional to the applied force. Therefore, the variation of the force can be measured indirectly by measuring the variation of the deformation. However, this principle cannot be applied when a body is subjected to an impulsive force. In this case, the propagation of stress waves inside the body cannot be neglected so that the variation of the deformation at any point of the body is no longer the same as the variation of the applied force. Therefore, impact force is much more difficult to measure than quasi-static force. In order to overcome this difficulty, inverse analysis methods to estimate variations of impact force from measured responses of a body have been studied extensively during the last two decades. This article presents a review of methods of inverse analysis for the indirect measurement of impact force.

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