The deformation behavior of sol-gel derived zirconia films during ultra micro indentation has been investigated. The sol-gel films were deposited using a multiple stage coating procedure onto stainless steel substrates. The indentation process was carried out using both pointed indenters, such as a Berkovich, as well as spherical indenters. The use of different indenter types enables the determination of hardness, elastic modulus as well as the elastic-plastic or elastic-brittle transition of the films. The mechanical behavior of thin films is strongly influenced by the interaction between the substrate and the film. In brittle materials, the stress singularities induced by the indentation process cannot readily be reduced by long range plastic flow and may cause cracking. Therefore, a great deal of attention has been paid to post-indentation observations of the films, in particular examinations of the surface morphology for visible traces of the film behavior during indentation.
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Jômting, Å., Ben-Nissan, B., Ashcroft, I. et al. Studies of Ultra Micro Indented Multilayered Sol-Gel Zirconia Films. MRS Online Proceedings Library 356, 711–716 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-356-711