Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 43, Issue 13, pp 4383–4390 | Cite as

Indentation mechanics and fracture behavior of metal/ceramic nanolaminate composites

  • N. ChawlaEmail author
  • D. R. P. Singh
  • Y.-L. Shen
  • G. Tang
  • K. K. Chawla
Commonality of Phenomena in Composite Materials


Composite laminates on the nanoscale have unique properties, such as high strength, high wear resistance, and biocompatibility. In this paper we report on the nanoindentation behavior of a model metal–ceramic nanolaminate consisting of alternating layers of aluminum and silicon carbide (Al/SiC) processed by PVD on a Si substrate. Composites with different layer thicknesses were fabricated and the effect of layer thickness on Young’s modulus and hardness was quantified. The effect of indentation depth on modulus and hardness was studied. The damage that took place during nanoindentation was examined by cross-sectioning the samples by focused ion beam (FIB) technique and imaging the surface using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Finite element modeling (FEM) of nanoindentation of nanolaminates was conducted. The damage patterns observed in experiments were qualitatively supported by the numerical simulations.


Indentation Depth High Tensile Stress Indentation Process Individual Layer Thickness Indentation Displacement 



The authors are grateful for financial support for this research from the National Science Foundation (DMR-0504781, Dr. H. D. Chopra, Program Manager). We acknowledge the use of processing and microscopy facilities at the LeRoy Eyring Center for Solid State Science at Arizona State University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Chawla
    • 1
    Email author
  • D. R. P. Singh
    • 1
  • Y.-L. Shen
    • 2
  • G. Tang
    • 2
  • K. K. Chawla
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Materials, Fulton School of EngineeringArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  3. 3.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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