Determination of the true projected contact area by in situ indentation testing

G. Guillonneau; J. M. Wheeler; J. Wehrs; L. Philippe; P. Baral; H. W. Höppel; M. Göken; J. Michler

Journal of Materials Research 34 (2019) 2859-2868

A major limitation in nanoindentation analysis techniques is the inability to accurately quantify pile-up/sink-in around indentations. In this work, the contact area during indentation is determined simultaneously using both contact mechanical models and direct in situ observation in the scanning electron microscope. The pile-up around indentations in materials with low H/E ratios (nanocrystalline nickel and ultrafine-grained aluminum) and the sink-in around a material with a high H/E ratio (fused silica) were quantified and compared to existing indentation analyses. The in situ projected contact area measured by scanning Eelectron Mmicroscopy using a cube-corner tip differs significantly from the classical models for materials with low H/E modulus ratio. Using a Berkovich tip, the in situ contact area is in good agreement with the contact model suggested by Loubet et al. for materials with low H/E ratio and in good agreement with the Oliver and Pharr model for materials with high H/E ratio.