In the light of limited resources and increasing costs of raw materials, light-weight design gets more and more important. To meet the conflictive requirements for different parts in complex structures, composite materials and composite structures are applied for an increasing number of parts. For this reason, nondestructive test procedures, which can be applied to a large variety of materials under various boundary conditions, have to be applied in these structures. Therefore, the application of the promising digital image correlation (DIC) method is to be investigated using important structural and functional materials.The present dissertation gives an overview of the materials, loading conditions and further boundary conditions, that allow for the early detection of failure relevant damage using DIC and hence a prediction of the later failure mode and failure area. The focus of the experiments was on the calculation of strain distributions on the surfaces of monotonically and cyclically loaded specimens. Metals, fiber-reinforced plastics and sand-wich-structures were tested. The obtained results were summarized and evaluated consi-dering further investigations found in the published literature. Finally, approaches for the esti-mation of the number of the remaining cycles to failure based on the damage quantified by DIC are summarized.