Accurate measurement of tip-sample contact size during nanoindentation of viscoelastic materials


Polypropylene (PP) and amorphous selenium (a-Se) were used as prototype materials at room temperature to explore the problems that may exist in the accurate measurement of the reduced modulus of viscoelastic materials using depth-sensing nanoindentation. As has been reported previously by others, we observed that a “nose” in the load-displacement curve may occur during unloading, indicating significant creep effects at the onset of unloading. To accurately measure the elastic modulus in viscoelastic materials like PP or a-Se, both the contact stiffness and the contact area at the onset of unloading must be determined accurately. The issue of removing the influence of creep on the measurement of the contact stiffness using the Oliver-Pharr method has been addressed in a previous paper by Feng and Ngan. In this work, the effect of creep on contact-depth measurement is considered. Removal of creep effects in both contact stiffness and contact-area measurement leads to satisfactory prediction of the reduced moduli in PP and a-Se.

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Tang, B., Ngan, A.H.W. Accurate measurement of tip-sample contact size during nanoindentation of viscoelastic materials. Journal of Materials Research 18, 1141–1148 (2003).

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