Mechanical Property Mapping of Composites

Mechanical property mapping with nanoindentation provides modulus or hardness data unattainable by bulk mechanical testing. This is evident for a fiberglass composite sample. Fiberglass is commonly used as an insulating material in applications from construction to microelectronics. Typically only the bulk properties are tested. This provides a lower modulus value as the fiberglass and surrounding matrix both contribute to the bulk properties. 

Optical image of fiberglass composite sample

Optical image of fiberglass composite sample used for modulus mapping.

To understand the mechanical properties of the component materials, indentation mapping is required. Maps for properties such as stiffness, hardness or modulus can accurately and quickly be acquired with statistical significance. For example, the modulus for the fiberglass sample can be mapped using the high speed capability for nanoindentation or microhardness testing:

Modulus map for fiberglass composite sample using high speed nanoindentation

Modulus map using the NanoBlitz option for nanoindentation and microhardness testing.

In addition to mechanical property maps, the statistical data is automatically compiled and available for analysis. For this composite sample, the bimodal distribution for the fiberglass and surrounding epoxy shows the modulus difference between the component materials. This information in unattainable with bulk mechanical testing:

Modulus counts for fiberglass composite sample measured by high speed nanoindentation testing

Statistical analysis for fiberglass composite sample, indicating bimodal distribution for modulus.

 


iMicro Nanoindenter
iMicro Nanoindenter

High load nanoindentation and microhardness testing

iNano Nanoindenter
iNano Nanoindenter

Fast, accurate and easy to use with up to 50 mN of force