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Nanomechanics has developed a complete suite of nanoindentation testers for process control and confirmation, failure understanding and analysis and R&D for industrial applications. Our nanoindentation systems offer standard methods and advanced, customizable test procedures to meet the needs of our industrial partners in a predictable, reliable and measurable way.
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Energy and Natural Resources

Shale formations host vast natural gas and oil reserves which are accessed by hydraulic fracturing. Experts in the oil and gas industry have analytical tools at their disposal for optimizing fractures to maximize the productivity of a well, and these analytical tools require knowing the Young’s modulus and fracture strength of the shale. Nanomechanics’ systems provide an economic way to measure needed mechanical properties from drill cuttings.

Consumer Goods

From potato-chip bags to dinnerware to paper towels, sufficient mechanical strength, as quantified by Young’s modulus and hardness, is essential for customer satisfaction. Nanomechanics’ systems have a flexible sample-mounting apparatus that can be configured to test a wide variety of consumer products. Testing is quick and standard results are intuitive.

Biomedical

From stents to artificial joints, implanted materials are often coated to improve biological compatibility. The longevity of the device depends directly on the mechanical integrity of the coating. Nanoindentation provides a reliable way to measure the Young’s modulus and hardness of implant coatings under development, in product, and even post-mortem (see also: Biomaterials).

Plastics

The mechanical strength of an injection-molded part can vary substantially within the part itself, depending on proximity to the mold. Nanomechanics’ systems provide all the tools needed to measure Young’s modulus and hardness on the surface of a part and throughout a cross section.

Defense

Defense applications for nanoindentation are myriad, from body armor to MEMS. Nanomechanics’ software allows test protocols to be customized for new applications and then fixed for simple execution.

Chemical

In high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), the liquid to be analyzed is forced at high pressure through a column packed with microscopic particles, and the species are separated based on the speed with which they pass through the column. If the packed particles break under pressure, then the column cannot function as intended. With specific hardware and test methods, Nanomechanics’ instruments become small-scale compression testing systems which are used to measure the Young’s modulus, yield, and fracture strengths of chromatography particles.

Automotive

Nanoindentation is used to test nearly all materials in modern cars and trucks: tires, paints, engine, headlights, etc. Nanoindentation tests on tires give complex modulus as a function of position and frequency. For external parts, UV exposure can change the mechanical properties over time. Because nanoindentation is a small test, accelerated-aging tests for Young’s modulus, hardness, and mar resistance are done on small material samples.

Electronic Packaging

The reliability of soldered connections in electronic packaging depends on mechanical integrity, because mechanical failure can cause electrical failure. Mechanical integrity, in turn, depends on mechanical properties. With international mandates to eliminate lead from solder, there has been a push to understand, control, and optimize the properties of new solder alloys, and nanoindentation is the tool of choice. The engineers at Nanomechanics pioneered the NanoBlitz technique which produces rapid high-resolution mechanical “maps” of all the components of a solder joint, whether new or aged, showing which areas are vulnerable to failure.

Semiconductors

Nanoindentation is used to test all components the modern semiconductor at every stage of production. By far, the most common application is the mechanical characterization of low-dielectric-constant (low-k) films. An important optimization in microelectronic design is to lower the dielectric constant as much as possible while maintaining sufficient mechanical strength. Nanoindentation is the primary means for evaluating the mechanical strength of low-k materials. Nanomechanics’ systems designed for this application include an automatic correction for substrate influence, so that the measured Young’s modulus is the true value for the low-k film, independent of the substrate upon which it is deposited.

Data Storage

Nanomechanics’ systems are the industrial tool of choice for mechanical characterization of all the essential components of hard-disk drives: diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings, read heads, and arms. The very same instrument can measure the wear resistance of the DLC coating (a nanometer-scale test) or the stiffness of the arm (a micron-scale test). If your application is unique, we can design a custom test method with the desired actuation, measurements, and results.

Additive Manufacturing

Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) allows the manufacture of mechanical parts with heretofore unimagined complexity. However, there should be no expectation that the mechanical properties of ALM parts will be identical to those of parts made by traditional manufacturing methods, because properties depend strongly on processing and microstructure. Thus, nanoindentation is used to quickly and easily measure Young’s modulus and hardness of sequential layers in an ALM part.