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Aspects of Tip Shape Characterization for Nanoindentation of Compliant Materials

  • Mark R. VanLandingham (a1), Thomas F. Juliano (a1) and Matthew J. Hagon (a1)


The application of nanoindentation methods to compliant materials, such as polymeric and biological materials, often requires the use of instrumentation designed with enhanced force sensitivity, which limits its maximum force level. Because tip geometry is normally characterized using indentation of fused silica, the maximum contact depths achieved by low-force instruments during this calibration are often less than 300 nm. However, penetration into more compliant materials can be several micrometers or more. Extrapolation of tip shape data from fused silica indentation can lead to significant uncertainties in the indentation measurements for compliant materials. In this paper, atomic force microscopy (AFM) is used to provide tip shape information for a Berkovich tip and a series of conical tips. Use of AFM allows a larger range of depth to be calibrated and provides three-dimensional tip information.



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