Combining Tribological and Nanomechanical Techniques over Multiple Force Scales

Table of Contents

Flagship System Offers Superior Vantage Point
Unrivalled Technique Versatility
     Nanoindentation Module
     Nano-Scratch Module
     Nano-Impact and Fatigue Module
     Nano-Fretting/Nano-Wear Module
High-Accuracy Multiple Force Scales
Market-Leading Environmental Capabilities
Hot Stage for Elevated-Temperature Nanomechanics to 850 °C*

Flagship System Offers Superior Vantage Point

The NanoTest Vantage manufactured by Micro Materials smartly integrates multiple nanomechanical and tribological test methods over several force scales and numerous environments in a single instrument to deliver the most comprehensive and reliable solution available today.

Researchers and engineers at leading research institutions, universities, and industrial R&D labs around the world depend on the exceptional capabilities of the modular NanoTest Vantage.

The benefits of a single high-resolution measurement head capable of up to 500 mN include improved data reliability on rough surfaces, better calibration data, less tip wear during scratch experiments, and the ability to study thicker, tougher coatings. The figure shows indentation-induced fracture in spinel. Inducing this cracking required a 500 mN load.

Unrivalled Technique Versatility

Every NanoTest Vantage comprises of an advanced controller with intuitive software, a four-objective optical microscope, and a thermally-controlled environmental enclosure with an anti-vibration system. This extraordinarily flexible nanomechanical test and characterization solution can be configured to perform nano-fretting, nanoindentation, nano-impact, nano-scratch, and nano-wear methods. The totally ISO- and ASTM-compliant system can even be configured with a nanopositioning stage to offer SPM imaging, or with an AFM.

Nanoindentation Module

The nanoindentation module has been engineered to provide users with the ideal combination of load range and sensitivity to encompass the broadest range of sample types and applications. Instrument stability, reliable calibration procedures, and experimental protocols guarantee that ISO 14577 compliant measurements can easily be completed. High-resolution XYZ stages enable precision targeting of test locations, for instance, for micro-pillar compression and micro-cantilever tests or for indentations into specific phases in multi-phase materials.

This outstanding repositioning accuracy integrated with very high thermal stability enables the NanoTest Vantage to target particular features of interest, produce comprehensive mechanical property maps across surface and depth-profiles of hardness and elastic modulus, and perform long-duration creep tests.

Nanoindentation Module

Mapping the mechanical properties of a hard and stiff intermetallic inclusion (AI7Cu2Fe) in a high-strength Al-Mg-Zn automative/aerospace alloy.

Nano-Scratch Module

The nano-scratch module has been built to offer the best combination of (1) high-frictional sensitivity, (2) high-lateral rigidity during scratching, and (3) wide load range.

This module extends the ability of the instrument to perform a wide range of nano-tribological tests, including multiple-pass scratch, single scratches, and wear tests, surface profilometry, and friction measurements.

It is especially suitable for evaluating abrasive wear resistance and critical load for coating failures. The NanoTest Vantage loading heads possess a high-lateral stiffness so it is extremely effective at testing hard coatings, even those with very high surface roughness.

Nano-Scratch Module

Frictional sensitivity and reproducibility in repeat nano-scratch tests on a hard nanocomposite coating. Friction coefficient at failure = 0.223 ± 0.002.

Nano-Impact and Fatigue Module

Nano-impact functions by speeding up the indenter towards the sample surface under regulated conditions. This high-energy impact brings about a very high strain rate contact (normal strain rate: ~103–104 s-1) that is orders of magnitude higher than the strain rates in nanoindentation.

Nano-impact of a layered Cr2AIC MAX-phase coating

Nano-impact of a layered Cr2AIC MAX-phase coating

Single impacts and repetitive impact tests are feasible with this patented method; each offers different data. Single impacts are utilized to examine dynamic hardness and rate sensitivity in metallic materials or energy damping in biomaterials and polymers. Repetitive impact tests are used for evaluating fatigue resistance, most typically on coatings

Nano-impact complements nanoindentation methods, particularly for applications where toughness is crucial and hardness alone is inadequate. Impact with the NanoTest Vantage has been demonstrated to be an effective accelerated wear test capable of accurately mimicking interrupted contacts (for example, in erosive wear, in metal cutting, or in auto- or aero-engines).

Nano-Fretting/Nano-Wear Module

The nano-fretting/nano-wear module in the NanoTest is used for reciprocating wear and fretting testing. By altering the wear track length, both reciprocating nano-wear and true nanoscale fretting tests can be done using the same module. This method is crucial for examining the onset of wear in metallic materials and coatings.

Due to the very high stability of the NanoTest Vantage, high-cycle wear tests can be performed. This makes it possible to execute tests at a lower contact pressure more reflective of real wear conditions where coatings fail progressively not straightaway. The nano-wear tests can then be used to more efficiently create materials with better wear resistance.

High-Accuracy Multiple Force Scales

The NanoTest Vantage is designed to house the system’s low-load loading head and optional high-load loading head concurrently, giving a load range from 0.01 mN to 30 N. This minimizes time because, in contrast to other instruments, the need for a physical change and recalibration of loading heads are not needed.

The second head delivers microindentation and micro-scratch capabilities along with a broad range of other micromechanical measurements for real depth-sensing at 30 N.

Market-Leading Environmental Capabilities

The environmental capabilities of the NanoTest Vantage cannot be matched by any currently available nanomechanical test and characterization instrument. The system’s exceptional, high-precision horizontal loading is vital for reliable and accurate testing at elevated temperatures, virtually eliminating thermal drift.

For a much greater experimental versatility, the instrument can be designed with a low-temperature option (to -20 °C). The system can also utilize a temperature-controlled liquid cell to test samples completely immersed in a fluid with constant buoyancy force, and constant surface tension on loading column. A completely programmable humidity cell allows fast, steady humidity variations from 10% to 90% for exploring moisture sensitivity in biomaterials, polymers, and nanocomposites. Moreover, researchers can characterize and enhance their materials in reduced oxygen/purged settings using the NanoTest Vantage.

Hot Stage for Elevated-Temperature Nanomechanics to 850 °C*

Dual active heating of the indenter and the sample, a patented temperature control methodology, and a patented stage design, guarantee the finest thermal stability desirable for repeatable high-temperature measurements up to 850 °C* when using the high-temperature option of the system.

With the inclusion of water cooling and an environmental chamber for testing in reduced oxygen atmosphere, consistent measurements can be performed.

  • Active tip heating – The indenter and the sample are both actively and autonomously heated, ensuing in an isothermal contact
  • Patented tip heating power feedback system – Quick response to reduce heat flow on contact
  • Horizontal loading – The exclusive loading configuration of the NanoTest Vantage means that there is no heat flow onto the depth measurement sensor or loading head
  • Highly localized heating – A heat shield and insulating shroud around the heated zone guarantee stability of the instrument during high-temperature experiments
  • Patented control protocol – Software programs are used to exactly match the indenter and stage temperatures of 0.1 ºC
  • Time-dependent measurements – As no major thermal drift takes place during high-temperature measurements, it becomes feasible to conduct long-duration tests (for example, indentation creep tests) that cannot be done with other systems

The change of hardness vs. temperature for two different commercially available TiAlN coatings.

The change of hardness vs. temperature for two different commercially available TiAlN coatings.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Micro Materials.

For more information on this source, please visit Micro Materials.

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