Yield and Tensile Strength of Steel and Aluminum

Importance of YS and UTS Measurement using Indentation

Traditionally YS and UTS have been tested using a large tensile testing machine requiring enormous strength to pull apart test specimens. It is costly and time-consuming to properly machine many test coupons for a material where each sample can only be tested once. Small defects in the sample create a noticeable variance in test results. Different configurations and alignments of the tensile testers in the market often result in substantial variations in testing mechanics and outcomes.

Nanovea’s innovative indentation method directly provides YS and UTS values comparable to values measured by conventional tensile tests. This measurement opens a new realm of testing possibilities for all industries. The simple experimental setup significantly cuts sample preparation time and cost compared to the complex coupon shape required for tensile tests. Multiple measurements on a single sample are possible with a small indentation size. It prevents the influence of defects seen in tensile test coupons created during sample machining. YS and UTS measurements on small samples in localized area allow for mapping and local defect detection in pipelines or auto structures.

Measurement Objective

In this application, the Nanovea Mechanical Tester measures the YS and UTS of stainless steel SS304 and aluminum Al6061 metal alloy samples. The samples were chosen for their commonly recognized YS and UTS values showing the reliability of Nanovea’s indentation methods.



Test Procedure and Procedures

The YS/UTS tests were performed on the Nanovea Mechanical Tester in the Microindentation mode. A cylindrical flat diamond tip of 200 μm diameter was used for this application. SS304 and Al6061 alloys were selected for their extensive industrial application and commonly recognized YS and UTS values, in order to show the great potential and reliability of the indentation method. Samples were mechanically polished to a mirror-like finish before testing to avoid surface roughness or defect influence on test results. Test conditions are listed in Table 1. More than ten tests were performed on each sample to ensure the repeatability of the test values.



Results and Discussion

Load-displacement curves of the SS304 and Al6061 alloy samples are shown in Figure 3 with the flat indenter imprints on the test samples inset. Analysis of the “S” shaped loading curve using special algorithms developed by Nanovea calculates YS and UTS. Values are automatically calculated by the software as summarized in Table 1. YS and UTS values obtained by conventional tensile tests are listed for comparison.




In  this  study,  we  showcased  the  capacity  of  Nanovea  Mechanical  Tester  in  evaluating  YS & UTS of stainless  steel and aluminum alloy sheet samples. The simple experimental setup significantly cuts the time and cost for  sample  preparation  required  for  tensile  tests.  The  small  indentation  size  makes  it  possible  to  perform  multiple measurements  on  one  single  sample.  This  method  allows  YS/UTS  measurements  on  small  samples  and localized areas, providing a solution for YS/UTS mapping and local defect detection of pipelines or auto structure.

The  Nano,  Micro  or  Macro  modules  of  the  Nanovea  Mechanical  Tester  all  include  ISO  and  ASTM  compliant              indentation,  scratch  and  wear  tester  modes,  providing  the  widest  and  most  user  friendly  range  of  testing  available in a single system. Nanovea’s unmatched range is an ideal solution for determining the full range of mechanical properties of thin or thick, soft or hard coatings, films and substrates, including hardness, Young’s modulus, fracture toughness, adhesion, wear resistance and many others.  In addition, optional 3D non-contact profiler and AFM Module are available for high resolution 3D imaging of indentation, scratch and wear track in addition to other surface measurements such as roughness.


Dynamic Load Tribology


Wear takes place in virtually every industrial sector and imposes costs of ~0.75% of the GDP1. Tribology research is vital in improving production efficiency, application performance, as well as conservation of material, energy, and the environment. Vibration and oscillation inevitably occur in a wide range of tribological applications. Excessive external vibration accelerates the wear process and reduces service performance which leads to catastrophic failures to the mechanical parts.

Conventional dead load tribometers apply normal loads by mass weights. Such a loading technique not only limits the loading options to a constant load, but it also creates intense uncontrolled vibrations at high loads and speeds leading to limited and inconsistent wear behavior assessments. A reliable evaluation of the effect of controlled oscillation on the wear behavior of materials is desirable for R&D and QC in different industrial applications.

Nanovea’s groundbreaking high load tribometer has a maximum load capacity of 2000 N with a dynamic-load control system. The advanced pneumatic compressed air loading system enables users to evaluate the tribological behavior of a material under high normal loads with the advantage of damping undesired vibration created during the wear process. Therefore, the load is measured directly with no need for buffer springs used in older designs. A parallel electromagnet oscillating loading module applies well-controlled oscillation of desired amplitude up to 20 N and frequency up to 150 Hz.

Friction is measured with high accuracy directly from the side force applied to the upper holder. The displacement is monitored in situ, providing insight into the evolution of the wear behavior of the test samples. The wear test under controlled oscillation loading can also be performed in corrosion, high temperature, humidity, and lubrication environments to simulate the real work conditions for the tribological applications. An integrated high-speed non-contact profilometer automatically measures the wear track morphology and wear volume in a few seconds.


Measurement Objective

In this study, we showcase the capacity of the Nanovea T2000 Dynamic Load Tribometer in studying the tribological behavior of different coating and metal samples under controlled oscillation loading conditions.




Test Procedure

The tribological behavior, e.g. coefficient of friction, COF, and wear resistance of a 300 µm thick wear-resistant coating was assessed and compared by the Nanovea T2000 Tribometer with a conventional dead load tribometer using a pin on disk setup following ASTM G992.

Separate Cu and TiN coated samples against a 6 mm Al₂0₃ ball under controlled oscillation were evaluated by Dynamic Load Mode of the Nanovea T2000 Tribometer.

The test parameters are summarized in Table 1.

The integrated 3D profilometer equipped with a line sensor automatically scans the wear track after the tests, providing the most accurate wear volume measurement in seconds.



Results and Discussion


Pneumatic loading system vs. Dead load system


The tribological behavior of a wear-resistant coating using Nanovea T2000 Tribometer is compared to a conventional dead load (DL) tribometer. The evolution of the COF of the coating are shown in Fig. 2. We observe the coating exhibits a comparable COF value of ~0.6 during the wear test. However, the 20 cross-section profiles at different locations of the wear track in Fig. 3 indicate that the coating experienced much more severe wear under the dead load system.

Intense vibrations were generated by the wear process of the dead load system at high load and speed. The massive concentrated pressure at the contact face combined with a high sliding speed creates substantial weight and structure vibration leading to accelerated wear. The conventional dead load tribometer applies load using mass weights. This method is reliable at lower contact loads under mild wear conditions; however, under aggressive wear conditions at higher loads and speeds, the significant vibration causes the weights to bounce repeatedly, resulting in an uneven wear track causing unreliable tribological evaluation. The calculated wear rate is 8.0±2.4 x 10-4 mm3/N m, showing a high wear rate and large standard deviation.

The Nanovea T2000 tribometer is designed with a dynamic control loading system to dampen the oscillations. It applies the normal load with compressed air which minimizes undesired vibration created during the wear process. In addition, active closed loop loading control ensures a constant load is applied throughout the wear test and the stylus follows the depth change of the wear track. A significantly more consistent wear track profile is measured as shown in Fig. 3a, resulting in a low wear rate of 3.4±0.5 x 10-4 mm3/N m.

The wear track analysis shown in Fig. 4 confirms the wear test performed by the pneumatic compressed air loading system of the Nanovea T2000 Tribometer creates a smoother and more consistent wear track compared to the conventional dead load tribometer. In addition, the Nanovea T2000 tribometer measures stylus displacement during the wear process providing further insight into the progress of the wear behavior in situ.



Controlled Oscillation on Wear of the Cu sample

The parallel oscillating loading electromagnet module of the Nanovea T2000 Tribometer enables users to investigate the effect of controlled amplitude and frequency oscillations on the wear behavior of materials. The COF of the Cu samples is recorded in situ as shown in Fig. 6. The Cu sample exhibits a constant COF of ~0.3 during the first 330-revolution measurement, signifying the formation of a stable contact at the interface and relatively smooth wear track. As the wear test continues, the variation of the COF indicates a change in the wear mechanism. In comparison, the wear tests under a 5 N amplitude-controlled oscillation at 50 N exhibits a different wear behavior: the COF increases promptly at the beginning of the wear process, and shows significant variation throughout the wear test. Such behavior of COF indicates that the imposed oscillation in the normal load plays a role in the unstable sliding state at the contact.

Fig. 7 compares the wear track morphology measured by the integrated non-contact optical profilometer. It can be observed that the Cu sample under a controlled oscillation amplitude of 5 N exhibits a much larger wear track with a volume of 1.35 x 109 µm3, compared to 5.03 x 108 µm3 under no imposed oscillation. The controlled oscillation significantly accelerates the wear rate by a factor of ~2.7, showing the critical effect of oscillation on wear behavior.


Controlled Oscillation on Wear of the TiN Coating

The COF and wear tracks of the TiN coating sample are shown in Fig. 8. The TiN coating exhibits significantly different wear behaviors under oscillation as indicated by the evolution of COF during the tests. The TiN coating shows a constant COF of ~0.3 following the run-in period at the beginning of the wear test, due to the stable sliding contact at the interface between the TiN coating and the Al₂O₃ ball. However, when the TiN coating starts to fail, the Al₂O₃ ball penetrates through the coating and slides against the fresh steel substrate underneath. A significant amount of hard TiN coating debris is generated in the wear track at the same time, turning a stable two-body sliding wear into three-body abrasion wear. Such a change of the material couple characteristics leads to the increased variations in the evolution of COF. The imposed 5 N and 10 N oscillation accelerates the TiN coating failure from ~400 revolutions to below 100 revolutions. The larger wear tracks on the TiN coating samples after the wear tests under the controlled oscillation is in agreement with such a change in COF.



The advanced pneumatic loading system of the Nanovea T2000 Tribometer possesses an intrinsic advantage as a naturally quick vibration damper compared to traditional dead load systems. This technological advantage of pneumatic systems is true compared to load-controlled systems that use a combination of servo motors and springs to apply the load. The technology ensures reliable and better-controlled wear evaluation at high loads as demonstrated in this study. In addition, the active closed loop loading system can change the normal load to a desired value during wear tests to simulate real-life applications seen in brake systems.

Instead of having influence from uncontrolled vibration conditions during tests, we have shown the Nanovea T2000 Dynamic-Load Tribometer enables users to quantitatively assess the tribological behaviors of materials under different controlled oscillation conditions. Vibrations play a significant role in the wear behavior of metal and ceramic coating samples.

The parallel electromagnet oscillating loading module provides precisely controlled oscillations at set amplitudes and frequencies, allowing users to simulate the wear process under real-life conditions when environmental vibrations are often an important factor. In the presence of imposed oscillations during wear, both the Cu and the TiN coating samples exhibit substantially increased wear rate. The evolution of the coefficient of friction and stylus displacement measured in situ are important indicators for the performance of the material during the tribological applications. The integrated 3D non-contact profilometer offers a tool to precisely measure the wear volume and analyze the detailed morphology of the wear tracks in seconds, providing more insight into the fundamental understanding of wear mechanism.

The T2000 is equipped with a self-tuned, high-quality, and high torque motor with a 20-bit internal speed and a 16-bit external position encoder. It enables the tribometer to provide an unmatched range of rotational speeds from 0.01 to 5000 rpm that can change in stepwise jumps or at continuous rates. Contrary to systems that use a bottom located torque sensor, the Nanovea Tribometer uses a top located high-precision load cell to accurately and separately measure friction forces.

Nanovea Tribometers offers precise and repeatable wear and friction testing using ISO and ASTM compliant rotative and linear modes (including 4ball, thrust washer, and block on ring tests), with optional high-temperature wear, lubrication and tribo-corrosion modules available in one pre-integrated system. Nanovea T2000’s unmatched range is an ideal solution for determining the full range of tribological properties of thin or thick, soft or hard coatings, films, and substrates.

Learn more about all the features our Nanovea Tribometer offers.

Paint Orange Peel Texture Analysis using 3D Profilometry


The size and frequency of surface structures on substrates affect the quality of gloss coatings. Orange peel, named after its appearance, can develop from substrate influence and paint application technique. Texture problems are commonly quantified by waviness, wavelength, and the visual effect they have on gloss coatings. The smallest textures result in gloss reduction while larger textures result in visible ripples on the coated surface. Understanding the development of these textures and its relation to substrates and techniques are critical to quality control.

Importance of Profilometry for Texture Measurement

Unlike traditional 2D instruments used to measure gloss texture, 3D non-contact measurement quickly provides a 3D image used to understand surface characteristics with the added ability to quickly investigate areas of interest. Without speed and 3D review, a quality control environment would solely rely on 2D information that gives little predictability of the entire surface. Understanding textures in 3D allows for the best selection of processing and control measures. Assuring quality control of such parameters heavily relies on quantifiable, reproducible, and reliable inspection. Nanovea 3D Non-Contact Profilometers utilize chromatic confocal technology to have the unique capability to measure the steep angles found during fast measurement. Nanovea Profilometers succeed where other techniques fail to provide reliable data due to probe contact, surface variation, angle, or reflectivity.

Measurement Objective

In this application, the Nanovea HS2000L measures the orange peel texture of a gloss paint. There are endless surface parameters automatically calculated from the 3D surface scan. Here we analyze a scanned 3D surface by quantifying the characteristics of the orange peel texture.

Results and Discussion

The Nanovea HS2000L quantified isotropy and height parameters of the orange peel paint. The orange peel texture quantified the random pattern direction with 94.4% isotropy. Height parameters quantify the texture with a 24.84µm height difference.

The bearing ratio curve in Figure 4 is a graphical representation of the depth distribution. This is an interactive feature within the software that allows the user to view distributions and percentages at varying depths. An extracted profile in Figure 5 gives useful roughness values for the orange peel texture. Peak extraction above a 144 micron threshold shows the orange peel texture. These parameters are easily adjusted to other areas or parameters of interest.


In this application, the Nanovea HS2000L 3D Non-Contact Profilometer precisely characterizes both topography and nanometer details of the orange peel texture on a gloss coating. Areas of interest from 3D surface measurements are quickly identified and analyzed with many useful measurements (Dimension, Roughness Finish Texture, Shape Form Topography, Flatness Warpage Planarity, Volume Area, Step-Height, etc.). Quickly chosen 2D cross-sections provide a complete set of surface measurement resources on gloss texture. Special areas of interest can be further analyzed with an integrated AFM module. Nanovea 3D Profilometer’s speed ranges from <1 mm/s to 500 mm/s for suitability in research applications to the needs of high-speed inspection. Nanovea 3D Profilometers have a wide range of configurations to suit your application.

Humidity Effect on DLC Coating Tribology

Importance of Wear Evaluation on DLC in Humidity

Diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings possess enhanced tribological properties, namely excellent wear resistance and a very low coefficient of friction (COF). DLC coatings impart diamond characteristics when deposited on different materials. Favorable tribo-mechanical properties make DLC coatings preferable in various industrial applications, such as aerospace parts, razor blades, metal cutting tools, bearings, motorcycle engines, and medical implants. DLC coatings exhibit very low COF (below 0.1) against steel balls under high vacuum and dry conditions12. However, DLC coatings are sensitive to environmental condition changes, particularly relative humidity (RH)3. Environments with high humidity and oxygen concentration may lead to significant increase in COF4. Reliable wear evaluation in controlled humidity simulates realistic environmental conditions of DLC coatings for tribological applications. Users select the best DLC coatings for target applications with proper comparison of DLC wear behaviors exposed to different humidity.

Measurement Objective

This study showcases the Nanovea Tribometer equipped with a humidity controller is the ideal tool for investigating wear behavior of DLC coatings at various relative humidity.



Test Procedure

Friction and wear resistance of DLC coatings were evaluated by the Nanovea Tribometer. Test parameters are summarized in Table 1. A humidity controller attached to the tribo-chamber precisely controlled the relative humidity (RH) with an accuracy of ±1%. Wear tracks on DLC coatings and wear scars on SiN balls were examined using an optical microscope after tests. Note: Any solid ball material can be applied to simulate the performance of different material coupling under environmental conditions such as in lubricant or high temperature.

Results and Discussion

DLC coatings are great for tribological applications due to their low friction and superior wear resistance. The DLC coating friction exhibits humidity dependent behavior shown in Figure 2. The DLC coating shows a very low COF of ~0.05 throughout the wear test in relatively dry conditions (10% RH). The DLC coating exhibits a constant COF of ~0.1 during the test as RH increases to 30%. The initial run-in stage of COF is observed in the first 2000 revolutions when RH rises above 50%. The DLC coating shows a maximum COF of ~0.20, ~0.26 and ~0.33 in RH of 50, 70 and 90%, respectively. Following the run-in period, the DLC coating COF stays constant at ~0.11, 0.13 and 0.20 in RH of 50, 70 and 90%, respectively.


Figure 3 compares SiN ball wear scars and Figure 4 compares DLC coating wear tracks after the wear tests. The diameter of the wear scar was smaller when the DLC coating was exposed to an environment with low humidity. Transfer DLC layer accumulates on the SiN ball surface during the repetitive sliding process at the contact surface. At this stage, the DLC coating slides against its own transfer layer which acts as an efficient lubricant to facilitate the relative motion and restrain further mass loss caused by shear deformation. A transfer film is observed in the wear scar of the SiN ball in low RH environments (e.g. 10% and 30%), resulting in a decelerated wear process on the ball. This wear process reflects on the DLC coating’s wear track morphology as shown in Figure 4. The DLC coating exhibits a smaller wear track in dry environments, due to the formation of a stable DLC transfer film at the contact interface which significantly reduces friction and wear rate.



Humidity plays a vital role in the tribological performance of DLC coatings. The DLC coating possesses significantly enhanced wear resistance and superior low friction in dry conditions due to the formation of a stable graphitic layer transferred onto the sliding counterpart (a SiN ball in this study). The DLC coating slides against its own transfer layer, which acts as an efficient lubricant to facilitate the relative motion and restrain further mass loss caused by shear deformation. A film is not observed on the SiN ball with increasing relative humidity, leading to an increased wear rate on the SiN ball and the DLC coating. The Nanovea Tribometer offers repeatable wear and friction testing using ISO and ASTM compliant rotative and linear modes, with optional humidity modules available in one pre- integrated system. It allows users to simulate the work environment at different humidity, providing users an ideal tool to quantitatively assess the tribological behaviors of materials under different work conditions.

Learn More about the Nanovea Tribometer and Lab Service
1 C. Donnet, Surf. Coat. Technol. 100–101 (1998) 180.
2 K. Miyoshi, B. Pohlchuck, K.W. Street, J.S. Zabinski, J.H. Sanders, A.A. Voevodin, R.L.C. Wu, Wear 225–229 (1999) 65.
3 R. Gilmore, R. Hauert, Surf. Coat. Technol. 133–134 (2000) 437.
4 R. Memming, H.J. Tolle, P.E. Wierenga, Thin Solid Coatings 143 (1986) 31

Learn more about all the features our Nanovea Tribometer offers.

3D Surface Analysis of a Penny with Non-contact Profilometry

Importance of Non-contact Profilometry for Coins

Currency is highly valued in modern society because it is traded for goods and services. Coin and paper bill currency circulates around the hands of many people. Constant transfer of physical currency creates surface deformation. Nanovea’s 3D Profilometer scans the topography of coins minted in different years to investigate surface differences. Coin features are easily recognizable to the general public since they are common objects. A penny is ideal for introducing the strength of Nanovea’s Advanced Surface Analysis Software: Mountains 3D. Surface data collected with our 3D Profilometer allows for high level analyses on complex geometry with surface subtraction and 2D contour extraction. Surface subtraction with a controlled mask, stamp, or mold compares the quality of manufacturing processes while contour extraction identifies tolerances with dimensional analysis. Nanovea’s 3D Profilometer and Mountains 3D software investigates the submicron topography of seemingly simple objects, like pennies.

Measurement Objective

The full upper surface of five pennies were scanned using Nanovea’s High-Speed Line Sensor. The inner and outer radius of each penny was measured using Mountains Advanced Analysis Software. An extraction from each penny surface at an area of interest with direct surface subtraction quantified surface deformation.

Results and Discussion

3D Surface
The Nanovea HS2000 profilometer took only 24 seconds to scan 4 million points in a 20mm x 20mm area with a 10um x 10um step size to acquire the surface of a penny. Below is a height map and 3D visualization of the scan. The 3D view shows the High-Speed sensor’s ability to pick up small details unperceivable to the eye. Many small scratches are visible across the surface of the penny. Texture and roughness of the coin seen in the 3D view are investigated.

Dimensional Analysis
The contours of the penny were extracted and dimensional analysis obtained inner and outer diameters of the edge feature. The outer radius averaged 9.500 mm ± 0.024 while the inner radius averaged 8.960 mm ± 0.032. Additional dimensional analyses Mountains 3D can do on 2D and 3D data sources are distance measurements, step height, planarity, and angle calculations.

Surface Subtraction
Figure 5 shows the area of interest for the surface subtraction analysis. The 2007 penny was used as the reference surface for the four older pennies. Surface subtraction from the 2007 penny surface shows differences between pennies with holes/peaks. Total surface volume difference is obtained from adding volumes of the holes/peaks. The RMS error refers to how closely penny surfaces agree with each other.



Nanovea’s High-Speed HS2000L scanned five pennies minted in different years. Mountains 3D software compared surfaces of each coin using contour extraction, dimensional analysis, and surface subtraction. The analysis clearly defines the inner and outer radius between the pennies while directly comparing surface feature differences. With Nanovea’s 3D profilometer’s ability to measure any surfaces with nanometer-level resolution, combined with Mountains 3D analysis capabilities, the possible Research and Quality Control applications are endless.  

Learn more about all the features our Nanovea Profilometer offers.

Dimensional and Surface Finish of Polymeric Tubes

Importance of Dimensional and Surface Analysis of Polymeric Tubes

Tubes made from polymeric material are commonly used in many industries ranging from automotive, medical, electrical, and many other categories. In this study, medical catheters made of different polymeric materials were studied using the Nanovea 3D Non-Contact Profilometer to measure surface roughness, morphology, and dimensions. Surface roughness is crucial for catheters as many problems with catheters, including infection, physical trauma, and inflammation can be linked with the catheter surface. Mechanical properties, such as coefficient of friction, can also be studied by observing surface properties. These quantifiable data can be obtained to ensure the catheter can be used for medical applications. Compared to optical microscopy and electron microscopy, 3D Non-Contact Profilometry using axial chromatism is highly preferable for characterizing catheter surfaces due to its ability to measure angles/curvature, ability to measure material surfaces despite transparency or reflectivity, minimal sample preparation, and non-invasive nature. Unlike conventional optical microscopy, the height of the surface can be obtained and used for computational analysis; e.g. finding dimensions and removing form to find surface roughness. Having little sample preparation, in contrast to electron microscopy, and non-contact nature also allows for quick data collection without fearing contamination and error from sample preparation.

Measurement Objective

In this application, the Nanovea 3D Non-Contact Profilometer is used to scan the surface of two catheters: one made of TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) and the other made of PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). The morphology, radial dimension, and height parameters of the two catheters will be obtained and compared.

Results and Discussion

3D Surface Despite the curvature on polymeric tubes, the Nanovea 3D Non-contact profilometer can scan the surface of the catheters. From the scan done, a 3D image can be obtained for quick, direct visual inspection of the surface.

2D Dimensional Analysis
The outer radial dimension was obtained by extracting a profile from the original scan and fitting an arc to the profile. This shows the ability of the 3D Non-contact profilometer in conducting quick dimensional analysis for quality control applications. Multiple profiles can easily be obtained along the catheter’s length as well.

Surface Analysis Roughness
The outer radial dimension was obtained by extracting a profile from the original scan and fitting an arc to the profile. This shows the ability of the 3D Non-contact profilometer in conducting quick dimensional analysis for quality control applications. Multiple profiles can easily be obtained along the catheter’s length as well.


In this application, we have shown how the Nanovea 3D Non-contact profilometer can be used to characterize polymeric tubes. Specifically, surface metrology, radial dimensions, and surface roughness were obtained for medical catheters. The outer radius of the TPE catheter was found to be 2.40mm while the PVC catheter was 1.27mm. The surface of the TPE catheter was found to be rougher than the PVC catheter. The Sa of TPE was 0.9740µm compared to 0.1791µm of PVC. While medical catheters were used for this application, 3D Non-Contact Profilometry can be applied to a large variety of surfaces as well. Obtainable data and calculations are not limited to what is shown.

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Tooth Hardness Evaluation using Nanoindentation

Importance of Nanoindentation for Bio Materials

  With many traditional mechanical tests (Hardness, Adhesion, Compression, Puncture, Yield Strength, etc.), today’s quality control environments with advanced sensitive materials, from gels to brittle materials, now require greater precision and reliability control. Traditional mechanical instrumentation fails to provide the sensitive load control and resolution required; designed to be used for bulk materials. As the size of material being tested became of greater interest, the development of Nanoindentation provided a reliable method to obtain essential mechanical information on smaller surfaces such as the research being done with biomaterials. The challenges specifically associated with biomaterials have required the development of mechanical testing capable of accurate load control on extremely soft to brittle materials. Also, multiple instruments are needed to perform various mechanical tests which can now be performed on a single system. Nanoindentation provides a wide range of measurement with precise resolution at nano controlled loads for sensitive applications.  

Measurement Objective

In this application, the Nanovea Mechanical Tester, in Nanoindentation mode, is used to study the hardness and elastic modulus of the dentin, decay, and pulp of a tooth. The most critical aspect with Nanoindentation testing is securing the sample, here we took a sliced tooth and epoxy mounted leaving all three areas of interest exposed for testing.


Results and Discussion

This section includes a summary table that compares the main numerical results for the different samples, followed by the full result listings, including each indentation performed, accompanied by micrographs of the indentation, when available. These full results present the measured values of Hardness and Young’s modulus as the penetration depth with their averages and standard deviations. It should be considered that large variation in the results can occur in the case that the surface roughness is in the same size range as the indentation. Summary table of main numerical results:



In conclusion, we have shown how the Nanovea Mechanical Tester, in Nanoindentation mode, provides precise measurement of the mechanical properties of a tooth. The data can be used in the development of fillings that will better match the mechanical characteristics of a real tooth. The positioning capability of the Nanovea Mechanical Tester allows full mapping of the hardness of the teeth across the various zones. Using the same system, it is possible to test teeth material fracture toughness at higher loads up to 200N. A multi-cycle loading test can be used on more porous materials to evaluate the remaining level of elasticity. Using a flat cylindrical diamond tip can give yield strength information in each zone. In addition, with DMA “Dynamic Mechanical Analysis”, the viscoelastic properties including loss and storage moduli can be evaluated. The Nanovea nano module is ideal for these tests because it uses a unique feedback response to control precisely the load applied. Because of this, the nano module can also be used to do accurate nano scratch testing. The study of scratch and wear resistance of tooth material and filling materials adds to the overall usefulness of the Mechanical tester. Using a sharp 2-micron tip to quantitatively compare marring on filling materials will allow better prediction of the behavior in real applications. Multi-pass wear or direct rotative wear testing are also common tests providing important information on the long term viability.

Learn more about all the features our Nanovea Mechanical Tester offers.

Friction Evaluation at Extreme Low Speeds

Importance of Friction Evaluation at Low Speeds

Friction is the force that resists the relative motion of solid surfaces sliding against each other. When the relative motion of these two contact surfaces takes place, the friction at the interface converts the kinetic energy into heat. Such a process can also lead to wear of the material and thus performance degradation of the parts in use.
With a large stretch ratio, high resilience, as well as great waterproof properties and wear resistance, rubber is extensively applied in a variety of applications and products in which friction plays an important role, such as automobile tires, windshield wiper blades. shoe soles and many others. Depending on the nature and requirement of these applications, either high or low friction against different material is desired. As a consequence, a controlled and reliable measurement of friction of rubber against various surfaces becomes critical.

Measurement Objective

The coefficient of friction (COF) of rubber against different materials is measured in a controlled and monitored manner using the Nanovea Tribometer. In this study, we would like to showcase the capacity of Nanovea Tribometer for measuring the COF of different materials at extremely low speeds.

Results and Discussion

The coefficient of friction (COF) of rubber balls (6 mm dia., RubberMill) on three materials (Stainless steel SS 316, Cu 110 and optional Acrylic) was evaluated by Nanovea Tribometer. The tested metal samples were mechanically polished to a mirror-like surface finish before the measurement. The slight deformation of the rubber ball under the applied normal load created an area contact, which also helps to reduce the impact of asperities or inhomogeneity of sample surface finish to the COF measurements. The test parameters are summarized in Table 1.


The COF of a rubber ball against different materials at four different speeds is shown in Figure. 2, and the average COFs calculated automatically by the software are summarized and compared in Figure 3. It is interesting that the metal samples (SS 316 and Cu 110) exhibit significantly increased COFs as the rotational speed increases from a very low value of 0.01 rpm to 5 rpm -the COF value of the rubber/SS 316 couple increases from 0.29 to 0.8, and from 0.65 to 1.1 for the rubber/Cu 110 couple. This finding is in agreement with the results reported from several laboratories. As proposed by Grosch4 the friction of rubber is mainly determined by two mechanisms: (1) the adhesion between rubber and the other material, and (2) the energy losses due to the deformation of the rubber caused by surface asperities. Schallamach5 observed waves of detachment of rubber from the counter material across the interface between soft rubber spheres and a hard surface. The force for rubber to peel from the substrate surface and rate of waves of detachment can explain the different friction at different speeds during the test.

In comparison, the rubber/acrylic material couple exhibits high COF at different rotational speeds. The COF value slightly increases from ~ 1.02 to ~ 1.09 as the rotational speed increases from 0.01 rpm to 5 rpm. Such high COF is possibly attributed to stronger local chemical bonding at the contact face formed during the tests.





In this study, we show that at extremely low speeds, the rubber exhibits a peculiar frictional behavior – its friction against a hard surface increases with the increased speed of the relative movement. Rubber shows different friction when it slides on different materials. Nanovea Tribometer can evaluate the frictional properties of materials in a controlled and monitored manner at different speeds, allowing users to improve fundamental understanding of the friction mechanism of the materials and select the best material couple for targeted tribological engineering applications.

Nanovea Tribometer offers precise and repeatable wear and friction testing using ISO and ASTM compliant rotative and linear modes, with optional high-temperature wear, lubrication and tribo-corrosion modules available in one pre-integrated system. It is capable of controlling the rotational stage at extremely low speeds down to 0.01 rpm and monitor the evolution of friction in situ. Nanovea’s unmatched range is an ideal solution for determining the full range of tribological properties of thin or thick, soft or hard coatings, films, and substrates.

Learn more about all the features our Nanovea Tribometer offers.

Tribology of Polymers

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Polymers have been used extensively in a wide variety of applications and have become an indispensable part of everyday life. Natural polymers such as amber, silk, and natural rubber have played an essential role in human history. The fabrication process of synthetic polymers can be optimized to achieve unique physical properties such as toughness, viscoelasticity, self-lubrication, and many others.

Importance of Wear and Friction of Polymers

Polymers are commonly used for tribological applications, such as tires, bearings, and conveyor belts.
Different wear mechanisms occur depending on the mechanical properties of the polymer, the contact conditions, and the properties of the debris or transfer film formed during the wear process. To ensure that the polymers possess sufficient wear resistance under the service conditions, reliable and quantifiable tribological evaluation is necessary. Tribological evaluation allows us to quantitatively compare the wear behaviors of different polymers in a controlled and monitored manner to select the material candidate for the target application.

The Nanovea Tribometer offers repeatable wear and friction testing using ISO and ASTM compliant rotative and linear modes, with optional high-temperature wear and lubrication modules available in one pre-integrated system. This unmatched range allows users to simulate the different work environments of the polymers including concentrated stress, wear, and high temperature, etc.


In this study, we showcased that the Nanovea Tribometer is an ideal tool for comparing the friction and wear resistance of different polymers in a well-controlled and quantitative manner.



The coefficient of friction (COF) and the wear resistance of different common polymers were evaluated by the Nanovea Tribometer. An Al2O3 ball was used as the counter material (pin, static sample). The wear tracks on the polymers (dynamic rotating samples) were measured using a non-contact 3D profilometer and optical microscope after the tests concluded. It should be noted that a non-contact endoscopic sensor can be used to measure the depth the pin penetrates the dynamic sample during a wear test as an option. The test parameters are summarized in Table 1. The wear rate, K, was evaluated using the formula K=Vl(Fxs), where V is the worn volume, F is the normal load, and s is the sliding distance.

Please note that Al2O3 balls were used as the counter material in this study. Any solid material can be substituted to more closely simulate the performance of two specimens under actual application conditions.


Wear rate is a vital factor for determining the service lifetime of the materials, while the friction plays a critical role during the tribological applications. Figure 2 compares the evolution of the COF for different polymers against the Al2O3 ball during the wear tests. COF works as an indicator of when failures occur and the wear process enters a new stage. Among the tested polymers, HDPE maintains the lowest constant COF of ~0.15 throughout the wear test. The smooth COF implies that a stable tribo-contact is formed.

Figure 3 and Figure 4 compare the wear tracks of the polymer samples after the test is measured by the optical microscope. The In-situ non-contact 3D profilometer precisely determines the wear volume of the polymer samples, making it possible to accurately calculate wear rates of 0.0029, 0.0020, and 0.0032m3/N m, respectively. In comparison, the CPVC sample shows the highest wear rate of 0.1121m3/N m. Deep parallel wear scars are present in the wear track of CPVC.


The wear resistance of the polymers plays a vital role in their service performance. In this study, we showcased that the Nanovea Tribometer evaluates the coefficient of friction and wear rate of different polymers in a
well-controlled and quantitative manner. HDPE shows the lowest COF of ~0.15 among the tested polymers. HDPE, Nylon 66, and Polypropylene samples possess low wear rates of 0.0029, 0.0020 and 0.0032 m3/N m, respectively. The combination of low friction and great wear resistance makes HDPE a good candidate for polymer tribological applications.

The In-situ non-contact 3D profilometer enables precise wear volume measurement and offers a tool to analyze the detailed morphology of the wear tracks, providing more insight into the fundamental understanding of wear mechanisms


Learn more about all the features our Nanovea Tribometer offers.

Honeycomb Panel Surface Finish with 3D Profilometry

Roughness, porosity, and texture of the honeycomb panel surface are critical to quantify for the final panel design. These surface qualities can directly correlate to the aesthetics and functional characteristics of the panel surface. A better understanding of the surface texture and porosity can help optimize the panel surface processing and manufacturability. A quantitative, precise, and reliable surface measurement of the honeycomb panel is needed to control surface parameters for application and painting requirements. The Nanovea 3D Non-Contact sensors utilize unique chromatic confocal technology capable of precisely measuring these panel surfaces.

In this study, the Nanovea HS2000 platform equipped with a high-speed Line Sensor was used to measure and compare two honeycomb panels with different surface finishes. We showcase the Nanovea non-contact profilometer’s ability to provide fast and precise 3D profiling measurements and comprehensive in-depth analysis of the surface finish.

The surface of two honeycomb panel samples with varied surface finishes, namely Sample 1 and Sample 2, were measured. The false color and 3D view of the Samples 1 and 2 surfaces are shown in Figure 3 and Figure 4, respectively. The roughness and flatness values were calculated by advanced analysis software and are compared in Table 1. Sample 2 exhibits a more porous surface compared to Sample 1. As a result, Sample 2 possesses a higher roughness Sa of 14.7 µm, compared to an Sa value of 4.27 µm for Sample 1.
The 2D profiles of the honeycomb panel surfaces were compared in Figure 5, allowing users to have a visual comparison of the height change at different locations of the sample surface. We can observe that Sample 1 has a height variation of ~25 µm between the highest peak and lowest valley location. On the other hand, Sample 2 shows several deep pores across the 2D profile. The advanced analysis software has the ability to automatically locate and measure the depth of six relatively deep pores as shown in the table of Figure 4.b Sample 2. The deepest pore amongst the six possesses a maximum depth of nearly 90 µm (Step 4).
To further investigate the pore size and distribution of Sample 2, porosity evaluation was performed and discussed in the following section. The sliced view is displayed in Figure 5 and the results are summarized in Table 2. We can observe that the pores, marked in blue color in Figure 5, have a relatively homogeneous distribution on the sample surface. The projected area of the pores constitutes 18.9% of the whole sample surface. The volume per mm² of the total pores is ~0.06 mm³. The pores have an average depth of 42.2 µm, and the maximum depth is 108.1 µm.


In this application, we have showcased that the Nanovea HS2000 platform equipped with a high-speed Line Sensor is an ideal tool for analyzing and comparing the surface finish of honeycomb panel samples in a fast and accurate manner. The high-resolution profilometry scans paired with an advanced analysis software allow for a comprehensive and quantitative evaluation of the surface finish of honeycomb panel samples. The data shown here represents only a small portion of the calculations available in the analysis software. Nanovea Profilometers measure virtually any surface for a wide range of applications in the Semiconductor, Microelectronic, Solar, Fiber Optics, Automotive, Aerospace, Metallurgy, Machining, Coatings, Pharmaceutical, Biomedical, Environmental and many other industries.

Learn more about all the features our Nanovea Profilometer offers.

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