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Mechanical Properties of Nanometre Volumes of Material: use of the Elastic Response of Small Area Indentations

  • J. B. Pethica (a1) and W. C. Oliver (a2)


A new, differential method for determining the stiffness of a sub-micron indentation contact area is presented. This allows measurement of elastic modulus as well as plastic hardness, continuously during a single indentation, and without the need for discrete unloading cycles. Some of the new experiments that become possible with this technique, especially at the nanometre scale, are described. We show quantitatively that electropolished tungsten reproducibly exhibits the ideal theoretical lattice strength at small indentation loads.



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  • EISSN: 1946-4274
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