CONTACT SUPPORT CONTACT US

Category: Mechanical Testing

 

Scratch Hardness Measurement using Mechanical Tester

SCRATCH HARDNESS MEASUREMENT

USING A MECHANICAL TESTER

Prepared by

DUANJIE LI, PhD

INTRODUCTION

In general, hardness tests measure the resistance of materials to permanent or plastic deformation. There are three types of hardness measurements: scratch hardness, indentation hardness and rebound hardness. A scratch hardness test measures a material’s resistance to scratch and abrasion due to friction from a sharp object1. It was originally developed by German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs in 1820 and is still widely used to rank the physical properties of minerals2. This test method is also applicable to metals, ceramics, polymers, and coated surfaces.

During a scratch hardness measurement, a diamond stylus of specified geometry scratches into a material’s surface along a linear path under a constant normal force with a constant speed. The average width of the scratch is measured and used to calculate the scratch hardness number (HSP). This technique provides a simple solution for scaling the hardness of different materials.

MEASUREMENT OBJECTIVE

In this study, the NANOVEA PB1000 Mechanical Tester is used to measure the scratch hardness of different metals in compliance with ASTM G171-03.

Simultaneously, this study showcases the capacity of the NANOVEA Mechanical Tester in performing scratch hardness measurement with high precision and reproducibility.

NANOVEA

PB1000

TEST CONDITIONS

The NANOVEA PB1000 Mechanical Tester performed scratch hardness tests on three polished metals (Cu110, Al6061 and SS304). A conical diamond stylus of apex angle 120° with tip radius of 200 µm was used. Each sample was scratched three times with the same test parameters to ensure reproducibility of the results. The test parameters are summarized below. A profile scan at a low normal load of 10 mN was performed before and after the scratch test to measure the change in the surface profile of the scratch.

TEST PARAMETERS

NORMAL FORCE

10 N

TEMPERATURE

24°C (RT)

SLIDING SPEED

20 mm/min

SLIDING DISTANCE

10 mm

ATMOSPHERE

Air

RESULTS & DISCUSSION

The images of the scratch tracks of three metals (Cu110, Al6061 and SS304) after the tests are shown in FIGURE 1 in order to compare the scratch hardness of different materials. The mapping function of the NANOVEA Mechanical Software was used to create three parallel scratches tested under the same condition in an automated protocol. The measured scratch track width and calculated scratch hardness number (HSP) are summarized and compared in TABLE 1. The metals show different wear track widths of 174, 220 and 89 µm for Al6061, Cu110 and SS304, respectively, resulting in a calculated HSP of 0.84, 0.52 and 3.2 GPa.

In addition to the scratch hardness computed from the scratch track width, the evolution of coefficient of friction (COF), true depth and acoustic emission were recorded in situ during the scratch hardness test. Here, the true depth is the depth difference between the penetration depth of the stylus during the scratch test and the surface profile measured in the pre-scan. The COF, true depth and acoustic emission of Cu110 are shown in FIGURE 2 as an example. Such information provides insight into mechanical failures taking place during scratching, enabling users to detect mechanical defects and further investigate the scratch behavior of the tested material.

The scratch hardness tests can be finished within a couple of minutes with high precision and repeatability. Compared to conventional indentation procedures, the scratch hardness test in this study provides an alternative solution for hardness measurements, which is useful for quality control and the development of new materials.

Al6061

Cu110

SS304

FIGURE 1: Microscope image of the scratch tracks post test (100x magnification).

 Scratch track width (μm)HSp (GPa)
Al6061174±110.84
Cu110220±10.52
SS30489±53.20

TABLE 1: Summary of scratch track width and scratch hardness number.

FIGURE 2: The evolution of coefficient of friction, true depth and acoustic emissions during the scratch hardness test on Cu110.

CONCLUSION

In this study, we showcased the capacity of the NANOVEA Mechanical Tester in performing scratch hardness tests in compliance to ASTM G171-03. In addition to coating adhesion and scratch resistance, the scratch test at a constant load provides an alternative simple solution for comparing the hardness of materials. In contrast to conventional scratch hardness testers, NANOVEA Mechanical Testers offer optional modules for monitoring the evolution of coefficient of friction, acoustic emission and true depth in situ.

The Nano and Micro modules of a NANOVEA Mechanical Tester 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.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR INSTRUMENTS

Optical Profilers

Mechanical Testers

Tribometers

Lab Services

Titanium Nitride Coating Scratch Test

TITANIUM NITRIDE COATING SCRATCH TEST

QUALITY CONTROL INSPECTION

Prepared by

DUANJIE LI, PhD

INTRODUCTION

The combination of high hardness, excellent wear resistance, corrosion resistance and inertness makes titanium nitride (TiN) an ideal protective coating for metal components in various industries. For example, the edge retention and corrosion resistance of a TiN coating can substantially increase the work efficiency and extend the service life of machine tooling such as razor blades, metal cutters, injection molds and saws. Its high hardness, inertness and non-toxicity make TiN a great candidate for applications in medical devices including implants and surgical instruments.

IMPORTANCE OF TiN COATING SCRATCH TESTING

Residual stress in protective PVD/CVD coatings plays a critical role in the performance and mechanical integrity of the coated component. The residual stress derives from several major sources, including growth stress, thermal gradients, geometric constraints and service stress¹. The thermal expansion mismatch between the coating and the substrate created during coating deposition at elevated temperatures leads to high thermal residual stress. Moreover, TiN coated tools are often used under very high concentrated stresses, e.g. drill bits and bearings. It is critical to developing a reliable quality control process to quantitatively inspect the cohesive and adhesive strength of protective functional coatings.

[1] V. Teixeira, Vacuum 64 (2002) 393–399.

MEASUREMENT OBJECTIVE

In this study, we showcase that the NANOVEA Mechanical Testers in Scratch Mode are ideal for assessing the cohesive/adhesive strength of protective TiN coatings in a controlled and quantitative manner.

NANOVEA

PB1000

TEST CONDITIONS

The NANOVEA PB1000 Mechanical Tester was used to perform coating scratch tests on three TiN coatings using the same test parameters as summarized below:

LOADING MODE: Progressive Linear

INITIAL LOAD

0.02 N

FINAL LOAD

10 N

LOADING RATE

20 N/min

SCRATCH LENGTH

5 mm

INDENTER TYPE

Sphero-Conical

Diamond, 20 μm radius

RESULTS & DISCUSSION

FIGURE 1 shows the recorded evolution of penetration depth, coefficient of friction (COF) and acoustic emission during the test. The full micro scratch tracks on the TiN samples are shown in FIGURE 2. The failure behaviors at different critical loads are displayed in FIGURE 3, where critical load Lc1 is defined as the load at which the first sign of cohesive crack occurs in the scratch track, Lc2 is the load after which repeated spallation failures take place, and Lc3 is the load at which the coating is completely removed from the substrate. The critical load (Lc) values for the TiN coatings are summarized in FIGURE 4.

The evolution of penetration depth, COF and acoustic emission provides insight into the mechanism of the coating failure at different stages, which are represented by the critical loads in this study. It can be observed that Sample A and Sample B exhibit comparable behavior during the scratch test. The stylus progressively penetrates into the sample to a depth of ~0.06 mm and the COF gradually increases to ~0.3 as the normal load increases linearly at the beginning of the coating scratch test. When the Lc1 of ~3.3 N is reached, the first sign of chipping failure occurs. This is also reflected in the first large spikes in the plot of penetration depth, COF and acoustic emission. As the load continues to increase to Lc2 of ~3.8 N, further fluctuation of the penetration depth, COF and acoustic emission takes place. We can observe continuous spallation failure present on both sides of the scratch track. At the Lc3, the coating completely delaminates from the metal substrate under the high pressure applied by the stylus, leaving the substrate exposed and unprotected.

In comparison, Sample C exhibits lower critical loads at different stages of the coating scratch tests, which is also reflected in the evolution of penetration depth, coefficient of friction (COF) and acoustic emission during the coating scratch test. Sample C possesses an adhesion interlayer with lower hardness and higher stress at the interface between the top TiN coating and the metal substrate compared to Sample A and Sample B.

This study demonstrates the importance of proper substrate support and coating architecture to the quality of the coating system. A stronger interlayer can better resist deformation under a high external load and concentration stress, and thus enhance the cohesive and adhesive strength of the coating/substrate system.

FIGURE 1: Evolution of penetration depth, COF and acoustic emission of the TiN samples.

FIGURE 2: Full scratch track of the TiN coatings after the tests.

FIGURE 3: TiN coating failures under different critical loads, Lc.

FIGURE 4: Summary of critical load (Lc) values for the TiN coatings.

CONCLUSION

In this study, we showcased that the NANOVEA PB1000 Mechanical Tester performs reliable and accurate scratch tests on TiN-coated samples in a controlled and closely monitored manner. Scratch measurements allow users to quickly identify the critical load at which typical cohesive and adhesive coating failures occur. Our instruments are superior quality control tools that can quantitatively inspect and compare the intrinsic quality of a coating and the interfacial integrity of a coating/substrate system. A coating with a proper interlayer can resist large deformation under a high external load and concentration stress, and enhance the cohesive and adhesive strength of a coating/substrate system.

The Nano and Micro modules of a 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.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR INSTRUMENTS

Optical Profilers

Mechanical Testers

Tribometers

Lab Services

Adhesion Properties of Gold Coating on Quartz Crystal Substrate

 

Adhesion Properties of Gold Coating

on Quartz Crystal Substrate

Prepared by

DUANJIE LI, PhD

INTRODUCTION

The Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM) is an extremely sensitive mass sensor capable of making precise measurements of small mass in the nanogram range. QCM measures the mass change on the surface through detecting variations in resonance frequency of the quartz crystal with two electrodes affixed to each side of the plate. The capacity of measuring extreme small weight makes it a key component in a variety of research and industrial instruments to detect and monitor the variation of mass, adsorption, density, and corrosion, etc.

IMPORTANCE OF SCRATCH TEST FOR QCM

As an extremely accurate device, the QCM measures the mass change down to 0.1 nanogram. Any mass loss or delamination of the electrodes on the quartz plate will be detected by the quartz crystal and cause significant measurement errors. As a result, the intrinsic quality of the electrode coating and the interfacial integrity of the coating/substrate system play an essential role in performing accurate and repeatable mass measurement. The Micro scratch test is a widely used comparative measurement to evaluate the relative cohesion or adhesion properties of coatings based on comparison of the critical loads at which failures appear. It is a superior tool for reliable quality control of QCMs.

MEASUREMENT OBJECTIVE

In this application, the NANOVEA Mechanical Tester, in Micro Scratch Mode, is used to evaluate the cohesive & adhesive strength of the gold coating on the quartz substrate of a QCM sample. We would like to showcase the capacity of the NANOVEA Mechanical Tester in performing micro scratch tests on a delicate sample with high precision and repeatability.

NANOVEA

PB1000

TEST CONDITIONS

The NANOVEA PB1000 Mechanical Tester was used to perform the micro scratch tests on a QCM sample using the test parameters summarized below. Three scratches were performed to ensure reproducibility of the results.

LOAD TYPE: Progressive

INITIAL LOAD

0.01 N

FINAL LOAD

30 N

ATMOSPHERE: Air 24°C

SLIDING SPEED

2 mm/min

SLIDING DISTANCE

2 mm

RESULTS & DISCUSSION

The full micro scratch track on the QCM sample is shown in FIGURE 1. The failure behaviors at different critical loads are displayed in FIGURE 2, where critical load, LC1 is defined as the load at which the first sign of adhesive failure occurs in the scratch track, LC2 is the load after which repetitive adhesive failures take place, and LC3 is the load at which the coating is completely removed from the substrate. It can be observed that little chipping takes place at LC1 of 11.15 N, the first sign of coating failure. 

As the normal load continues to increase during the micro scratch test, repetitive adhesive failures occur after LC2 of 16.29 N. When LC3 of 19.09 N is reached, the coating completely delaminates from the quartz substrate. Such critical loads can be used to quantitatively compare the cohesive and adhesive strength of the coating and select the best candidate for targeted applications.

FIGURE 1: Full micro scratch track on the QCM sample.

FIGURE 2: Micro scratch track at different critical loads.

FIGURE 3 plots the evolution of friction coefficient and depth that may provide more insight in the progression of coating failures during the micro scratch test.

FIGURE 3: Evolution of COF and Depth during the micro scratch test.

CONCLUSION

In this study, we showcased that the NANOVEA Mechanical Tester performs reliable and accurate micro scratch tests on a QCM sample. By applying linearly increased loads in a controlled and closely monitored fashion, the scratch measurement allows users to identify the critical load at which typical cohesive and adhesive coating failure occurs. It provides a superior tool to quantitatively evaluate and compare the intrinsic quality of the coating and the interfacial integrity of the coating/substrate system for QCM.

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, an 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 and warpage.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR INSTRUMENTS

Optical profilers

Mechanical Testers

Tribometers

Lab Services

The World’s Leading Micro Mechanical Tester

 

NOW THE WORLD'S LEADING

MICRO MECHANICAL TESTING

Prepared by

PIERRE LEROUX & DUANJIE LI, PhD

INTRODUCTION

Standard Vickers Micro Hardness Testers have usable load ranges from 10 to 2000 gram force (gf). Standard Vickers Macro Hardness Testers load from 1 to 50 Kgf. These instruments are not only very limited in range of loads but they are also inaccurate when dealing with rougher surfaces or low loads when indents become too small to be measured visually. These limitations are intrinsic to older technology and as a result, instrumented indentation is becoming the standard choice due to the higher accuracy and performance it brings.

With NANOVEA’s world leading micro mechanical testing systems, Vickers hardness is automatically calculated from depth versus load data with the widest load range on a single module ever available (0.3 grams to 2 Kg or 6 grams to 40 Kg). Because it measures hardness from depth versus load curves, the NANOVEA Micro Module can measure any type of materials including very elastic ones. It also can provide not only Vickers hardness but also accurate elastic modulus and creep data in addition to other types of test such as scratch adhesion testing, wear, fatigue testing, yield strength and fracture toughness for a complete range of quality control data.

NOW THE WORLD'S LEADING MICRO MECHANICAL TESTING

In this applications note, it will be explained how the Micro Module has been designed to offer the world’s leading instrumented indentation and scratch testing. The Micro Module’s wide range testing capability is ideal for many applications. For example, the load range allows for accurate hardness and elastic modulus measurements of thin hard coatings and can then apply much higher loads to measure the adhesion of these same coatings.

MEASUREMENT OBJECTIVE

The capacity of the Micro Module is showcased with the NANOVEA CB500 Mechanical Tester by
performing both indentation and scratch tests with superior precision and reliability using a wide load range from 0.03 to 200 N.

NANOVEA

CB500

TEST CONDITIONS

A series (3×4, 12 indents in total) of Microindentations were performed on a standard steel sample using a Vickers indenter. The load and depth were measured and recorded for the complete indentation test cycle. The indentations were performed to different maximum loads ranging from 0.03 N to 200 N (0.0031 to 20.4 kgf) to showcase the capacity of the micro module in performing accurate indentation tests at different loads. It is worth noting that an optional load cell of 20 N is also available to provide 10 times higher resolution for tests in the lower load range from 0.3 gf up to 2 kgf.

Two scratch tests were performed using the Micro Module with linearly increased load from 0.01 N to 200 N and from 0.01 N to 0.5 N, respectively, using conico-spherical diamond stylus with tip radius of 500 μm and 20 μm.

Twenty Microindentation tests were carried out on the steel standard sample at 4 N showcasing the superior repeatability of the Micro Module’s results that contrast the performance of conventional Vickers hardness testers.

*microindenter on the steel sample

TEST PARAMETERS

of the Indentation Mapping

MAPPING: 3 BY 4 INDENTS

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The new Micro Module has a unique combination of Z-motor, high-force load cell and a high precision capacitive depth sensor. The unique utilization of independent depth and load sensors ensures high accuracy under all conditions.

Conventional Vickers hardness tests use diamond square-based pyramid indenter tips that create square shaped indents. By measuring the average length of the diagonal, d, the Vickers hardness can be calculated.

In comparison, the instrumented indentation technique used by NANOVEA‘s Micro Module directly measures the mechanical properties from indentation load & displacement measurements. No visual observation of the indent is required. This eliminates user or computer image processing errors in determining the d values of the indentation. The high accuracy capacitor depth sensor with a very low noise level of 0.3 nm can accurately measure the depth of indents that are difficult or impossible to be measured visually under a microscope with traditional Vickers hardness testers.

In addition, the cantilever technique used by competitors applies the normal load on a cantilever beam by a spring, and this load is in turn applied on the indenter. Such a design has a flaw in case a high load is applied – the cantilever beam cannot provide sufficient structural stiffness, leading to deformation of the cantilever beam and in turn misalignment of the indenter. In comparison, the Micro Module applies the normal load via the Z-motor acting on the load cell and then the indenter for direct load application. All the elements are vertically aligned for maximum stiffness, ensuring repeatable and accurate indentation and scratch measurements in the full load range.

Close-up view of the new Micro Module

INDENTATION FROM 0.03 TO 200 N

The image of the indentation map is displayed in FIGURE 1. The distance between the two adjacent indents above 10 N is 0.5 mm, while the one at lower loads is 0.25 mm. The high-precision position control of the sample stage allows users to select the target location for mechanical properties mapping. Thanks to the excellent stiffness of the micro module due to the vertical alignment of its components, the Vickers indenter keeps a perfect vertical orientation as it penetrates into the steel sample under a load of up to 200 N (400 N optional). This creates impressions of a symmetric square shape on the sample surface at different loads.

The individual indentations at different loads under the microscope are displayed alongside of the two scratches as shown in FIGURE 2, to showcase the capacity of the new micro module in performing both indentation and scratch tests in a wide load range with a high precision. As shown in the Normal Load vs. Scratch Length plots, the normal load increases linearly as the conico-spherical diamond stylus slides on the steel sample surface. It creates a smooth straight scratch track of progressively increased width and depth.

FIGURE 1: Indentation Map

Two scratch tests were performed using the Micro Module with linearly increased load from 0.01 N to 200 N and from 0.01 N to 0.5 N, respectively, using conico-spherical diamond stylus with tip radius of 500 μm and 20 μm.

Twenty Microindentation tests were carried out on the steel standard sample at 4 N showcasing the superior repeatability of the Micro Module’s results that contrast the performance of conventional Vickers hardness testers.

A: INDENTATION AND SCRATCH UNDER THE MICROSCOPE (360X)

B: INDENTATION AND SCRATCH UNDER THE MICROSCOPE (3000X)

FIGURE 2: Load vs Displacement plots at different maximum loads.

The load-displacement curves during the indentation at different maximum loads are shown in FIGURE 3. The hardness and elastic modulus are summarized and compared in FIGURE 4. The steel sample exhibits a constant elastic modulus throughout the test load ranging from 0.03 to 200 N (possible range 0.003 to 400 N), resulting in an average value of ~211 GPa. The hardness exhibits a relatively constant value of ~6.5 GPa measured under a maximum load above 100 N. As the load decreases to a range of 2 to 10 N, an average hardness of ~9 GPa is measured.

FIGURE 3: Load vs Displacement plots at different maximum loads.

FIGURE 4: Hardness and Young’s modulus of the steel sample measured by different maximum loads.

INDENTATION FROM 0.03 TO 200 N

Twenty Microindentation tests were performed at 4N maximum load. The load-displacement curves are displayed in FIGURE 5 and the resulting Vickers hardness and Young’s modulus are shown in FIGURE 6.

FIGURE 5: Load-displacement curves for microindentation tests at 4 N.

FIGURE 6: Vickers hardness and Young’s Modulus for 20 microindentations at 4 N.

The load-displacement curves demonstrate the superior repeatability of the new Micro Module. The steel standard possesses a Vickers hardness of 842±11 HV measured by the new Micro Module, compared to 817±18 HV as measured using the conventional Vickers hardness tester. The small standard deviation of the hardness measurement ensures reliable and reproducible characterization of mechanical properties in the R&D and quality control of materials in both the industrial sector and academia research.

In addition, a Young’s Modulus of 208±5 GPa is calculated from the load-displacement curve, which is not available for conventional Vickers hardness tester due to the missing depth measurement during the indentation. As load decrease and the size of the indent decreases, the NANOVEA Micro Module advantages in terms of repeatability compare to Vickers Hardness Testers increase until it is no longer possible to measure the indent through visual inspection.

The advantage of measuring depth to calculate hardness also becomes evident when dealing with rougher or when samples are more difficult to observe under standard microscopes provided on Vickers Hardness Testers.

CONCLUSION

In this study, we have shown how the new world leading NANOVEA Micro Module (200 N range) performs unmatched reproducible and precise indentation and scratch measurements under a wide load range from 0.03 to 200 N (3 gf to 20.4 kgf). An optional lower range Micro Module can provide testing from 0.003 to 20 N (0.3 gf to 2 kgf). The unique vertical alignment of the Z-motor, high-force load cell and depth sensor ensures maximum structural stiffness during measurements. The indentations measured at different loads all possess a symmetric square shape on the sample surface. A straight scratch track of progressively increased width and depth is created in the scratch test of a 200 N maximum load.

The new Micro Module can be configured on the PB1000 (150 x 200 mm) or the CB500 (100 x 50 mm) mechanical base with a z motorization (50 mm range). Combined with a powerful camera system (position accuracy of 0.2 microns) the systems provide the best automation and mapping capabilities on the market. NANOVEA also offers a unique patented function (EP No. 30761530) which allows verification and calibration of Vickers indenters by performing a single indent across the full range of loads. In contrast, standard Vickers Hardness Testers can only provide calibration at one load.

Additionally, the NANOVEA software enables a user to measure the Vickers hardness via the traditional method of measuring the indent diagonals if needed (for ASTM E92 & E384). As shown, in this document, depth versus load hardness testing (ASTM E2546 and ISO 14577) performed by a NANOVEA Micro Module is precise and reproducible compared to Traditional Hardness Testers. Especially for samples that cannot be observed/measured with a microscope.

In conclusion, the higher accuracy and repeatability of the Micro Module design with its broad range of loads and tests, high automation and mapping options renders the traditional Vickers hardness testers obsolete. But likewise with scratch and micro scratch testers still currently offered but designed with flaws in the 1980’s.

The continuous development and improvement of this technology makes NANOVEA a world leader in micro mechanical testing.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR INSTRUMENTS

Optical profilers

Mechanical Testers

Tribometers

Lab Services

Creep Deformation of Polymers using Nanoindentation

Creep Deformation of Polymers using Nanoindentation

Learn more

 

CREEP DEFORMATION

OF POLYMERS USING NANOINDENTATION

Prepared by

DUANJIE LI, PhD

INTRODUCTION

As viscoelastic materials, polymers often undergo a time-dependent deformation under a certain applied load, also known as creep. Creep becomes a critical factor when the polymeric parts are designed to be exposed to continuous stress, such as structural components, joins and fittings, and hydrostatic pressure vessels.

IMPORTANCE OF CREEP MEASUREMENT FOR POLYMERS

The inherent nature of viscoelasticity plays a vital role in the performance of polymers and directly influences their service reliability. The environmental conditions such as loading and temperature affect the creep behavior of the polymers. Creep failures often occur due to the lack of alertness of the time-dependent creep behavior of the polymer materials used under specific service conditions. As a result, it is important to develop a reliable and quantitative test of the viscoelastic mechanical behaviors of the polymers. The Nano module of the NANOVEA Mechanical Testers applies the load with a high-precision piezo and directly measures the evolution of force and displacement in situ. The combination of accuracy and repeatability makes it an ideal tool for creep measurement.

MEASUREMENT OBJECTIVE

In this application, we showcased that
the NANOVEA PB1000 Mechanical Tester
in Nanoindentation mode is an ideal tool
for studying viscoelastic mechanical properties
including hardness, Young’s modulus
and creep of polymeric materials.

NANOVEA

PB1000

TEST CONDITIONS

Eight different polymer samples were tested by nanoindentation technique using the NANOVEA PB1000 Mechanical Tester. As the load linearly increased from 0 to 40 mN, the depth progressively increased during the loading stage. The creep was then measured by the change of indentation depth at the maximum load of 40 mN for 30 s.

MAXIMUM LOAD 40 mN
LOADING RATE
80 mN/min
UNLOADING RATE 80 mN/min
CREEP TIME
30 s

INDENTER TYPE

Berkovich

Diamond

*setup of the nanoindentation test

RESULTS & DISCUSSION

The load vs displacement plot of the nanoindentation tests on different polymer samples is shown in FIGURE 1 and the creep curves are compared in FIGURE 2. The hardness and Young’s modulus are summarized in  FIGURE 3, and the creep depth is shown in FIGURE 4. As an examples in FIGURE 1, the AB, BC and CD portions of the load-displacement curve for the nanoindentation measurement represent the loading, creep and unloading processes, respectively.

Delrin and PVC exhibit the highest hardness of 0.23 and 0.22 GPa, respectively, while LDPE possesses the lowest hardness of 0.026 GPa among the tested polymers. In general, the harder polymers show lower creep rates. The softest LDPE has the highest creep depth of 798 nm, compared to ~120 nm for Delrin.

The creep properties of the polymers are critical when they are used in structural parts. By precisely measuring the hardness and creep of the polymers, a better understanding of the time-dependent reliability of the polymers can be obtained. The creep, change of the displacement at a given load, can also be measured at different elevated temperatures and humidity using the NANOVEA PB1000 Mechanical Tester, providing an ideal tool to quantitatively and reliably measure the viscoelastic mechanical behaviors of polymers
in the simulated realistic application environment.

FIGURE 1: The load vs displacement plots
of different polymers.

FIGURE 2: Creeping at a maximum load of 40 mN for 30 s.

FIGURE 3: Hardness and Young’s modulus of the polymers.

FIGURE 4: Creep depth of the polymers.

CONCLUSION

In this study, we showcased that the NANOVEA PB1000
Mechanical Tester measures the mechanical properties of different polymers, including hardness, Young’s modulus and creep. Such mechanical properties are essential in selecting the proper polymer material for intended applications. Derlin and PVC exhibit the highest hardness of 0.23 and 0.22 GPa, respectively, while LDPE possesses the lowest hardness of 0.026 GPa among the tested polymers. In general, the harder polymers exhibit lower creep rates. The softest LDPE shows the highest creep depth of 798 nm, compared to ~120 nm for Derlin.

The NANOVEA Mechanical Testers provide unmatched multi-function Nano and Micro modules on a single platform. Both the Nano and Micro modules include scratch tester, hardness tester and wear tester modes, providing the wildest and most user-friendly range of testing available on a single system.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR INSTRUMENTS

Optical profilers

Mechanical Testers

Tribometers

Lab Services

Multiphase Material using Nanoindentation NANOVEA

Multiphase Metal Nanoindentation

Metallurgy Study of Multiphase Material using Nanoindentation

Learn more

 

METALLURGY STUDY
OF MULTIPHASE MATERIAL

USING NANOINDENTATION

Prepared by

DUANJIE LI, PhD & ALEXIS CELESTIN

INTRODUCTION

Metallurgy studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, as well as their intermetallic compounds and alloys. Metals that undergo working processes, such as casting, forging, rolling, extrusion and machining, experience changes in their phases, microstructure and texture. These changes result in varied physical properties including hardness, strength, toughness, ductility, and wear resistance of the material. Metallography is often applied to learn the formation mechanism of such specific phases, microstructure and texture.

MPORTANCE OF LOCAL MECHANICAL PROPERTIES FOR MATERIALS DESIGN

Advanced materials often have multiple phases in a special microstructure and texture to achieve desired mechanical properties for target applications in industrial practice. Nanoindentation is widely applied to measure the mechanical behaviors of materials at small scales i ii. However, it is challenging and time-consuming to precisely select specific locations for indentation in a very small area. A reliable and user-friendly procedure of nanoindentation testing is in demand to determine the mechanical properties of different phases of a material with high precision and timely measurements.

MEASUREMENT OBJECTIVE

In this application, we measure mechanical properties of a multiphase metallurgical sample using the Most Powerful Mechanical Tester: the NANOVEA PB1000.

Here, we showcase the capacity of the PB1000 in performing nanoindentation measurements on multiple phases (grains) of a large sample surface with high precision and user friendliness using our Advanced Position Controller.

NANOVEA

PB1000

TEST CONDITIONS

In this study, we use a metallurgical sample with multiple phases. The sample had been polished to a mirror-like surface finish before the indentation tests. Four phases have been identified in the sample, namely PHASE 1, PHASE 2, PHASE 3 and PHASE 4 as shown below.

The Advanced Stage Controller is an intuitive sample navigation tool which automatically adjusts the speed of sample movement under the optical microscope based on position of the mouse. The further the mouse is away from the center of field of view, the faster the stage moves toward the mouse’s direction. This provides a user-friendly method to navigate the entire sample surface and select the intended location for mechanical testing. The coordinates of the test locations are saved and numbered, along with their individual test setups, such as loads, loading/unloading rate, number of tests in a map, etc. Such a test procedure allows users to examine a large sample surface for specific areas of interest for indentation and perform all the indentation tests at different locations in one time, making it an ideal tool for mechanical testing of metallurgical samples with multiple phases.

In this study, we located the specific phases of the sample under the optical microscope integrated in the NANOVEA Mechanical Tester as numbered on FIGURE 1. The coordinates of the selected locations are saved, followed by automatic nanoindentation tests all at once under the test conditions summarized below

FIGURE 1: SELECTING NANOINDENTATION LOCATION ON THE SAMPLE SURFACE.
RESULTS: NANOINDENTATIONS ON DIFFERENT PHASES

The indentations at the different phases of the sample are displayed below. We demonstrate that the excellent position control of the sample stage in the NANOVEA Mechanical Tester allows users to precisely pinpoint the target location for mechanical properties testing.

The representative load-displacement curves of the indentations are shown in FIGURE 2, and the corresponding hardness and Young’s Modulus calculated using Oliver and Pharr Methodiii are summarized and compared in FIGURE 3.


The
PHASES 1, 2, 3 and 4 possess an average hardness of ~5.4, 19.6, 16.2 and 7.2 GPa, respectively. The relatively small size for PHASES 2 contributes to its higher standard deviation of the hardness and Young’s Modulus values.

FIGURE 2: LOAD-DISPLACEMENT CURVES
OF THE NANOINDENTATIONS

FIGURE 3: HARDNESS & YOUNG’S MODULUS OF DIFFERENT PHASES

CONCLUSION

In this study, we showcased the NANOVEA Mechanical Tester performing nanoindentation measurements on multiple phases of a large metallurgical sample using the Advanced Stage Controller. The precise position control allows users to easily navigate a large sample surface and directly select the areas of interest for nanoindentation measurements.

The location coordinates of all the indentations are saved and then performed consecutively. Such a test procedure makes measurement of the local mechanical properties at small scales, e.g. the multi-phase metal sample in this study, substantially less time-consuming and more user friendly. The hard PHASES 2, 3 and 4 improve the mechanical properties of the sample, possessing an average hardness of ~19.6, 16.2 and 7.2 GPa, respectively, compared to ~5.4 GPa for PHASE 1.

The Nano, Micro or Macro modules of the instrument 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.

i Oliver, W. C.; Pharr, G. M., Journal of Materials Research., Volume 19, Issue 1, Jan 2004, pp.3-20
ii Schuh, C.A., Materials Today, Volume 9, Issue 5, May 2006, pp. 32–40
iii Oliver, W. C.; Pharr, G. M., Journal of Materials Research, Volume 7, Issue 6, June 1992, pp.1564-1583

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR INSTRUMENTS

Optical profilers

Mechanical Testers

Tribometers

Lab Services

Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) Frequency Sweep on Polymer

 

DMA FREQUENCY SWEEP

ON POLYMER USING NANOINDENTATION

Prepared by

Duanjie Li, PhD

INTRODUCTION

IMPORTANCE OF DYNAMIC MECHANICAL ANALYSIS FREQUENCY SWEEP TEST

The changing frequency of the stress often leads to variations in the complex modulus, which is a critical mechanical property of polymers. For example, tires are subjected to cyclical high deformations when vehicles are running on the road. The frequency of the pressure and deformation changes as the car accelerates to higher speeds. Such a change can result in variation in the viscoelastic properties of the tire, which are important factors in the car performance. A reliable and repeatable test of the viscoelastic behavior of polymers at different frequencies is in need. The Nano module of the NANOVEA Mechanical Tester generates sinusoidal load by a high precision piezo actuator and directly measures the evolution of force and displacement using ultrasensitive load cell and capacitor. The combination of easy setup and high accuracy makes it an ideal tool for Dynamic Mechanical Analysis frequency sweep.

Viscoelastic materials exhibit both viscous and elastic characteristics when undergoing deformation. Long molecular chains in polymer materials contribute to their unique viscoelastic properties, i.e. a combination of the characteristics of both elastic solids and Newtonian fluids. Stress, temperature, frequency and other factors all play roles in the viscoelastic properties. Dynamic Mechanical Analysis, also known as DMA, studies the viscoelastic behavior and complex modulus of the material by applying a sinusoidal stress and measuring the change of strain.

MEASUREMENT OBJECTIVE

In this application, we study viscoelastic properties of a polished tire sample at different DMA frequencies using the Most Powerful Mechanical Tester, NANOVEA PB1000, in Nanoindentation mode.

NANOVEA

PB1000

TEST CONDITIONS

FREQUENCIES (Hz):

0.1, 1.5, 10, 20

CREEP TIME AT EACH FREQ.

50 sec

OSCILLATION VOLTAGE

0.1 V

LOADING VOLTAGE

1 V

indenter type

Spherical

Diamond | 100 μm

RESULTS & DISCUSSION

The Dynamic Mechanical Analysis frequency sweep at the maximum load allows a fast and simple measurement on the viscoelastic characteristics of the sample at different loading frequencies in one test. The phase shift and the amplitudes of the load and displacement waves at different frequencies can be used to calculate a variety of fundamental material viscoelastic properties, including Storage Modulus, Loss Modulus and Tan (δ) as summarized in the following graphs. 

Frequencies of 1, 5, 10 and 20 Hz in this study, correspond to speeds of about 7, 33, 67 and 134 km per hour. As the test frequency increases from 0.1 to 20 Hz, it can be observed that both Storage Modulus and Loss Modulus progressively increase. Tan (δ) decreases from ~0.27 to 0.18 as the frequency increases from 0.1 to 1 Hz, and then it gradually increases to ~0.55 when the frequency of 20 Hz is reached. DMA frequency sweep allows measuring the trends of Storage Modulus, Loss Modulus and Tan (δ), which provide information on the movement of the monomers and cross-linking as well as the glass transition of polymers. By raising the temperature using a heating plate during the frequency sweep, a more complete picture of the nature of the molecular motion under different test conditions can be obtained.

EVOLUTION OF LOAD & DEPTH

OF THE FULL DMA FREQUENCY SWEEP

LOAD & DEPTH vs TIME AT DIFFERENT FREQUENCIES

STORAGE MODULUS

AT DIFFERENT FREQUENCIES

LOSS MODULUS

AT DIFFERENT FREQUENCIES

TAN (δ)

AT DIFFERENT FREQUENCIES

CONCLUSION

In this study, we showcased the capacity of the NANOVEA Mechanical Tester in performing the Dynamic Mechanical Analysis frequency sweep test on a tire sample. This test measures the viscoelastic properties of the tire at different frequencies of stress. The tire shows increased storage and loss modulus as the loading frequency increases from 0.1 to 20 Hz. It provides useful information on the viscoelastic behaviors of the tire running at different speeds, which is essential in improving the performance of tires for smoother and safer rides. The DMA frequency sweep test can be performed at various temperatures to mimic the realistic working environment of the tire under different weather.

In the Nano Module of the NANOVEA Mechanical Tester, the load application with the fast piezo is independent from the load measurement done by a separate high sensitivity strain gage. This gives a distinct advantage during Dynamic Mechanical Analysis since the phase between depth and load is measured directly from the data collected from the sensor. The calculation of phase is direct and does not need mathematical modeling that adds inaccuracy to the resulting loss and storage modulus. This is not the case for a coil-based system.

In conclusion, DMA measures loss and storage modulus, complex modulus and Tan (δ) as a function of contact depth, time and frequency. Optional heating stage allows determination of materials phase transition temperature during DMA. The NANOVEA Mechanical Testers provide unmatched multi-function Nano and Micro modules on a single platform. Both the Nano and Micro modules include scratch tester, hardness tester and wear tester modes, providing the widest and most user friendly range of testing available on a single module.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR INSTRUMENTS

Optical profilers

Mechanical Testers

Tribometers

Lab Services

Microparticles: Compression Strength and Micro Indentation

 

MICROPARTICLES

COMPRESSION STRENGTH & MICRO INDENTATION
BY TESTING SALTS​

Author:
Jorge Ramirez

Revised by:
Jocelyn Esparza

INTRODUCTION

Compression strength has become vital to quality control measurement in developing and improving new and existing microparticles and micro features (pillars and spheres) seen today. Microparticles have various shapes, sizes and can be developed from ceramics, glass, polymers, and metals. Uses include drug delivery, food flavor enhancement, concrete formulations among many others. Controlling the mechanical properties of microparticles or microfeatures are critical for their success and requires the ability to quantitatively characterize their mechanical integrity  

IMPORTANCE OF DEPTH VERSUS LOAD COMPRESSION STRENGTH

Standard compressive measurement instruments are not capable of low loads and fail to provide adequate depth data for microparticles. By using Nano or Microindentation, the compression strength of nano or microparticles (soft or hard) can be accurately and precisely measured.  

MEASUREMENT OBJECTIVE

In this application note we measure  the compression strength of salt with the NANOVEA Mechanical Tester in micro indentation mode.

NANOVEA

CB500

TEST CONDITIONS

maximum force

30 N

loading rate

60 N/min

unloading rate

60 N/min

indenter type

Flat Punch

Steel | 1mm Diameter

Load vs depth curves

Results & Discussion

Height, failure force and strength for Particle 1 and Particle 2

Particle failure was determined to be the point where the initial slope of the force vs. depth curve began to noticeably decrease.This behavior shows the material has reached a yield point and is no longer able to resist the compressive forces being applied. Once the yield point is surpassed, the indentation depth begins to exponentially increase for the duration of the loading period. These behaviors can be seen in Load vs Depth Curves for both samples.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, we have shown how the NANOVEA Mechanical Tester in micro indentation mode is a great tool for compression strength testing of microparticles. Although the particles tested are made of the same material, it is suspected that the different failure points measured in this study were likely due to pre-existent micro cracks in the particles and varying particle sizes. It should be noted that for brittle materials, acoustic emission sensors are available to measure the beginning of crack propagation during a test.


The
NANOVEA Mechanical Tester offers depth displacement resolutions down to the sub nanometer level,
making it a great tool for the study of very fragile micro particles or features as well. For soft and fragile
materials, loads down to 0.1mN are possible with our nano indentation module

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR INSTRUMENTS

Optical profilers

Mechanical Testers

Tribometers

Lab Services

Ceramics: Nanoindentation Fast Mapping for Grain Detection

Improve Mining Procedures With Microindendation

 

MICROINDENTATION RESEARCH AND QUALITY CONTROL

Rock mechanics is the study of the mechanical behavior of rock masses and is applied in mining, drilling, reservoir production, and civil construction industries. Advanced instrumentation with precise measurement of mechanical properties allows for part and procedure improvement within these industries. Successful quality control procedures are ensured by understanding rock mechanics at the micro scale.

Microindentation is a crucial tool used for rock mechanics related studies. These techniques advance excavation techniques by providing further understanding of rock mass properties. Microindentation is used to improve drill heads which improve mining procedures. Microindentation has been used to study chalk and powder formation from minerals. Microindentation studies can include hardness, Young’s modulus, creep, stress-strain, fracture toughness, and compression with a single instrument.
 
 

MEASUREMENT OBJECTIVE

In this application the Nanovea mechanical tester measures the Vickers hardness (Hv), Young’s modulus, and fracture toughness of a mineral rock sample. The rock is made up of biotite, feldspar and quartz which form the standard granite composite. Each is tested separately.

 

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 (Δd) 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 for Hardness and Fracture Toughness

 

CONCLUSION

The Nanovea mechanical tester demonstrates reproducibility and precise indentation results on the hard surface of mineral rock. Hardness and Young’s modulus of each material forming the granite was measured directly from depth versus load curves. The rough surface meant testing at higher loads that may have caused micro cracking. Micro cracking would explain some of the variations seen in measurements. Cracks were not perceivable through standard microscopy observation because of a rough sample surface. Therefore, it is not possible to calculate traditional fracture toughness numbers that requires cracks length measurements. Instead, we used the system to detect initiation of cracks through the dislocations in the depth versus load curves while increasing loads.

Fracture threshold loads were reported at loads where failures occurred. Unlike traditional fracture toughness tests that simply measure crack length, a load is obtained at which threshold fracture starts. Additionally, the controlled and closely monitored environment allows the measurement of hardness to use as a quantitative value for comparing a variety of samples.

Want us to test your samples?

Please fill up our form and we will reach out to you soon!