Using Nanoindentation for In-Situ SEM Material Testing

Nanoindentation is a commonly used and effective method that allows the nano-mechanical properties of materials to be investigated without the need for extensive sample preparation. The technique is perfect for research involving materials of low volumes and thin films.

Nanoindentation experiments can be used to measure a material’s elastic modulus and hardness as well as its fracture, fatigue and creep behavior. A multiaxial stress-field, located beneath the indenter, allows slip systems in different planes to be activated; facilitating research into a material’s complex plasticity mechanisms. The technique can also exploit the size effect present in miniaturized samples to research the plastic behavior of quasi-brittle materials.

The FT-NMT04, from Femtotools, combines in-situ SEM with extremely high displacement and load resolutions, allowing sub-micron mechanical properties and features to be studied; including the direct imaging of slip-band, crack and pile-up formation. The instrument uses a novel sequential nanoindentation/EBSD protocol that gives researchers insight into the development of phase transformation and strain localizations over repeated indentations.

Regular nanoindentation experiments only provide data at the onset of unloading, whereas Continuous Stiffness Measurement (CSM) also measures the elastic modulus and hardness as a function of the penetration depth of the indentor. The FT-NMT04’s ultra-high displacement and load resolutions mean that CSM nanoindentation can be used to determine a material’s onset of plasticity, its mechanical responses to penetration, aswell as bulk material properties.

The FT-NMT04 has an extended harmonic frequency range, which reaches up to 500 Hz, and a fast data collection rate; allowing researchers to carry out new quantitative research into the dynamic mechanical processes underpinning a material’s viscoplastic and viscoelastic behavior.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by FemtoTools AG.

For more information on this source, please visit FemtoTools AG.

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