Nanoindentation is fundamental to the understanding of how materials perform at the nano- and micro-scale. Nanomechanics allows for researchers to gain a unique look at how their materials behave, allowing for an unparalleled understanding of their characteristics.
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Nanoindentation is the fastest way to measure the Young’s modulus and Vickers hardness of metals. Testing is completely automated, because the residual hardness impression doesn’t have to be imaged. With Nanomechanics’ equipment and standardized test methods, the entire process, from test method to final report, is radically faster and easier than what most people expect from a microhardness tester.
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Nanoindentation is the simplest way to measure the Young’s modulus and Vickers hardness of ceramics. Nanoindentation can be done on an as-manufactured part, thus eliminating the need to produce dog-bone specimens for tensile testing. Nanoindentation is also the best way to measure high-temperature properties, because the test requires only a small volume of material which can be heated more quickly and uniformly. Fracture toughness can also be estimated through nanoindentation testing by taking advantage of the brittle nature of ceramics and cracking that occurs during contact.
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Dynamic nanoindentation gives exactly the same information as Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA), but testing is faster, easier, and can be done on thin films and other small volumes that cannot be tested by DMA. The engineers at Nanomechanics, Inc. pioneered the technique of dynamic indentation, which oscillates the indenter over a range of frequencies to measure storage modulus, which characterizes the elasticity of the material, and loss modulus, which characterizes the damping of the material.
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Nanoindentation is especially useful for characterizing composite materials, because the scale of the test can be varied to characterize individual components, interphase regions, or bulk properties. For example, when testing fiberglass, one may probe the Young’s modulus and hardness of the glass fibers and polymer independently, or prescribe indentation tests which are large enough to characterize the fiberglass as a whole. The engineers at Nanomechanics pioneered the NanoBlitz technique which produces high-resolution surface “maps” of mechanical properties.
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In living tissue, the relationship between properties and function is reciprocal. That is, properties affect function, and function can affect properties by means of adaptation. Thus, knowledge of mechanical properties leads directly to knowledge of function. Nanomechanics’ systems are commonly used to measure the elastic modulus of biological tissue, from bone to blood vessels, all while keeping the sample hydrated. Man-made materials that are designed to supplement or replace biological functions can also be classified as biomaterials; these are tested by the same protocol as their natural counterparts.
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