Overview on micro- and nanomechanical testing: New insights in interface plasticity and fracture at small length scales

G. Dehm; B. N. Jaya; R. Raghavan; C. Kirchlechner

Acta Materialia 142 (2018) 248-282

Micro- and nanomechanical testing has seen a rapid development over the last decade with miniaturized test rigs and MEMS-based devices providing access to the mechanical properties and performance of materials from the micrometer down to the tenths of nanometer length scale. In this overview, we summarize firstly the different testing concepts with excursions into recent imaging and diffraction developments, which turn micro- and nanomechanical testing into “quantitative mechanical microscopy” by resolving the underlying material physics and simultaneously providing mechanical properties. A special focus is laid on the pitfalls of micro-compression testing with its stringent boundary conditions often hampering reliable experiments. Additionally, the challenges of instrumented micro- and nanomechanical testing at elevated temperature are summarized. From the wide variety of research topics employing micro- and nanomechanical testing of materials we focus here on miniaturized samples and test rigs and provide three examples to elucidate the state-of-the-art of the field: (i) probing the “strength” of individual grain boundaries in metals, (ii) temperature dependent deformation mechanisms in metallic nanolayered and -alloyed structures, and (iii) the prospects and challenges of fracture studies employing micro- and nanomechanical testing of brittle and ductile monolithic materials, and materials containing interfaces. Proven concepts and new endeavors are reported for the topics discussed in this overview.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actamat.2017.06.019