Mechanical Properties

Measuring and understanding the mechanical response is critical for material research, product development, and process control. The mechanical response of these materials is dependent on the application scenarios as well as material chemistry. The main parameters that are considered to measure these mechanical properties are, load (P), loading rate or strain rate (Ṗ/ἐ), time of loading (t).

The iMicro performs instrumented indentation on a variety of materials from bio-gels to super alloys to measure hardness and elastic modulus of the material with continuous stiffness measurements (CSM) in addition to complex modulus measurements (storage modulus, loss modulus, loss factor) for polymers, removing substrate effect in thin film properties, 3D property maps for heterogeneous surfaces and 4D property maps for depth dependent properties of materials. The iMicro is also capable of conducting dynamic and static microhardness and nanoindentation measurements including nanometric Vickers hardness. The iMicro offers unsurpassed accuracy, precision and repeatability as well as flexibility and versatility.

Traditionally, mechanical properties were determined from a stress-strain curve generated by an applied load but nanoindentation has proved to be much more advanced providing multiple properties such as hardness, modulus from a single test in less than a second. Some common terms used in mechanicsl tests are stress, strain, yield stress. Stress (σ) is the instantaneous load applied to a specimen divided by its cross-sectional area before any deformation. Strain (ε) is the change in gauge length of a specimen divided by its original gauge length. Yield stress (σy) is the stress at the point where the material no longer responds elastically, referred to as the yield point.

From fundamental data, mechanical properties are determined:

    • Elastic modulus
    • Hardness
    • Complex modulus for viscoelastic materials
    • Fracture toughness

Schematic of a stress-strain curve with elastic and plastic regions before fracture

Hooke's Law schematic

Elastic Modulus
Elastic Modulus

Elastic modulus data from micromechanical test methods


Complex modulus characterizes viscoelastic materials

Fracture Toughness
Fracture Toughness

Mechanical property measuring a material's resistance to brittle fracture


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