Nanoindentation is the key for unlocking quantitative mechanical properties of small volumes of materials. This technique is now a well-established method for determining elastic, plastic and visco-elastic properties of materials like hard thin films, multi-phase metals, ceramics, soft films, semiconductors, biological materials and plastics on a micron to nanometer scale.
|A nanoindentation test provides precision load displacement curves for testing on both soft and hard surfaces, and also rough surfaces such as those deposited by industrial processes including thermal spray coatings by quantitively measure the mechanical properties of small volumes of materials. Thin films, multi-phase metals and ceramics, biological materials, etc are the main applications for such instruments but they can also be used for viscoelastic measurements of polymers, flexure testing of MEMS and any application involving mechanical measurement on the sub-micron scale. The materials properties measured are elastic modulus and hardness, yield strength, and depending on the sample, storage and loss moduli, fracture toughness, scratch and wear properties.|
The IND-1000 instrument is designed to impart a controlled load and deformation of the material being tested. The mechanical response of the material is measured via force and displacement sensors. The range and resolution of the actuator, force and displacement sensors, is very small (in the mN and um range with nN and nm resolution). The precise nature of the measurement enables events on the micro to nano scale to be recorded. Macro-scale damage can thus be interpreted and explained by events on the sub-micron scale thus allowing the fundamental properties of the sample to be studied and tailored for specific applications.
IND-1000 uses rugged LVDT sensors for both force and depth measurements. AC amplification provides a mV noise floor in this sophisticated package. Special circuitry offsets the signal to take advantage of the full range of the analog to digital interface.
The use of LVDT measurement sensors for nanoindentation applications was pioneered by CSIRO in the late 1980’s. Since then, experience has proven the technique, offering low noise sub-nanometre resolution and in a very rugged package. Unlike competitor instruments that use a capacitance sensor, the IND system is almost immune to mechanical breakage due to overloading of the indenter shaft because the indenter shaft passes right through the sensor and can undergo several millimetres of accidental deflection without cause for any concern.
The force sensor is completely separate to the load actuator and measures the force applied to the indenter directly, and without any subtraction of signal from support springs. The force and depth sensors are independently calibrated against international standards. Closed loop feedback can be selected from either the force or the depth sensor. Open loop mode of operation for high speed data acquisition is also selectable.
- Measured material properties: Elastic Modulus, Hardness, Yield Strength, Storage and Loss Moduli, Fracture Toughness, Scratch and Wear properties (depending on the sample)
- Closed loop force/depth feedback
- Sub-nanometer depth resolution and extremely linear response LVDT
- High quality PZT expansion element, no heat generation
- Realtime feedback control over application of load- or depth-independent force and displacement measurement
- Precise sample positioning is ensured by video microscope and automated X- Y- Z-movement
- Low compliance load frame, enclosure and mountings
- Traceable calibration
- Periodic calibration is not required
- Easy indenter tip changeover
- Robust design can withstand significant abuse
- Reliable performance for many years
- Almost immune to mechanical breakage unlike competitor instruments
- The technology is based on the successful nanoindentation system of Fischer-Cripps Laboratories.
- Lateral force (Scratch Testing Module)
- Atomic Force Microscope
- Integrated Finite Element Analysis Module