Applications

Load and depth-sensing indentation are applied to practically every kind of solid material. This wide field of applications can be attributed to the facility of use since it does not require more than a relatively flat and not rough surface. Comparative results are straight forwardly obtained, being very useful to determine the effect of some parameter variation in the production or treatment of a specimen. In this section, the application and some results of load and depth-sensing indentation in different kinds of materials are presented. The objective is to show the major applications and to discuss the principal results in order to give the reader a direct way to analyze some of the most important fields of nanoindentation application. In addition, some nonconven-tional and very specific applications are described to show the technique capabilities and new ways to determine the mechanical properties of materials.

Some of the major applications of the nanoindentation technique, as indicated by the number of published articles in the last ten years, are listed: (1) determination of the hardness and elastic modulus of deposited thin films and coatings, principally metallic thin films and diamond-like carbon films; (2) determination of mechanical properties of irradiated materials including ionic irradiated surfaces and plasma-based ion implantation; and (3) study of mechanical properties of brittle materials, such as hardness, elastic modulus, toughness, and adhesion properties.

Some new and not totally well-developed areas where the depth and load-sensing indentation is being applied are: plasticity at low dimensions, mechanical properties of nanostructured materials, stress-strain simulation and residual stress determination, viscoelastic properties of polymers, and the creep and strain rate effect on the deformation of materials at low temperature. In these cases, non-Berkovich indenters may also be used to access mechanical properties other than hardness and elastic modulus.

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