Nanoindentation testing is the process of testing material hardness and toughness, as well as brittleness on two fronts. An indent is forced onto a material and examined closely in order to ascertain any changes in the material both around the indent and throughout the sample. Certain things such as toughness, brittleness and other factors can be ascertained by looking at the way that the material has reacted to the indentation both around the impact area and throughout the sample itself.
Saying that, nanoindentation testing is hardly a matter of marking a material with any old object and making an examination. The nanoindentation testing tool is actually a rather sophisticated piece of hardware- configured to use varying and calibrated amounts of pressure on a material at different increments, as well as providing a view of the material at a subsurface level while all of this is occurring. The nanoindenter itself can be formed of different materials – most commonly, the nanoindenter is made of diamond, though differing ones do exist.
Nanoindentation is used for very many differing proceedures. It plays a large role in hardness and modulus mapping – which is essentially the distribution of hardness and modulus across the area of the material, not just the indentation.
Nanoindentation is also an integral part of depth profiling, with both load and partial unload techniques. In a traditional sense, indentation was performed at a single depth. Given that most materials, at least on a molecular level, are stacks of layers, the strength, hardness, brittleness and toughness of each layer can be quite different to the other.
Nanoindentation is a very useful procedure, and despite It being a destructive one, a multitude of excellent research in materials has been achievable thanks to nanoindentation techniques. Indentation creep tests have been possible thanks to nanoindentation, allowing scientists and researchers to get more of a picture of the extended properties of a material, and how it can degrade with time.