Bio-Indenter for Characterizing the Mechanical Properties of Tissues and Soft Materials

An ex-situ variant of the Alemnis Standard Assembly (ASA), the Bio-indenter available from Alemnis has been developed exclusively for measuring the mechanical properties of tissues and soft materials.

The Bio-indenter is equipped with the Miniaturized Load Cell (MLC) and the Relative Humidity Module (RHM), offering a comprehensive testing platform for a broad range of sample configurations (particles, micropillars, tensile testing, gels, etc.) in various environments (submerged in liquid, controlled temperature and relative humidity, etc.). Listed below are the basic specifications:

  • Applied load range of 10 µN to 500 mN (using MLC-0.5)
  • Range of displacement up to 100 µm (using DHP-100)
  • Load noise floor of 4 µN
  • Displacement noise floor of < 1 nm

In addition, it is possible to couple the Bio-indenter configuration with the OPT-MIC optical microscope using a piezo-actuated XY displacement stage. Listed below are the specifications of the optical microscope:

  • Field of view 0.8 x 0.6 mm
  • Coaxial and adjustable illumination
  • Objective with zoom (0.77x–9.31x)
  • USB3 camera 1/3"
  • Working distance of 28 mm
  • Manual focus over +/- 12.5 mm

The Bio-indenter has been certified for several path-breaking scientific studies. A few such examples are given below.

Tensile Testing at the Microscale

Using focused ion beam (FIB), microtensile specimens were produced to simulate ASTM 638 tensile specimen stress conditions. Testing of single-crystal GaAs and Si specimens was performed to validate the tensile setup.

Casari et al., European FIB Network, Grenoble, 2018: https://www.dora.lib4ri.ch/empa/islandora/object/empa%3A17607/datastream/PDF/Casari-2018-Design_and_validation_of_a-%28published_version%29.pdf

Evaluation of the tensile properties of bone extracellular matrix in axial and transverse orientations was performed on the length scale of single lamellae. FIB milling of ovine osteonal bone was performed to produce tensile test specimens, and two different failure modes were identified through in-situ observation and post-failure high-resolution scanning electron micrographs.

Casari et al, World Congress of Biomechanics, Dublin, 2018: https://www.dora.lib4ri.ch/empa/islandora/object/empa%3A17605/datastream/PDF/Casari-2018-Tensile_properties_of_bone_extracellular-%28published_version%29.pdf

Low-Temperature (Cryo) Testing of Nanocrystalline PdAu

A Low Temperature Module (LTM-CRYO) was developed to examine deformation mechanisms through experiments to quantify strain rate jump micropillar compression at temperatures down to 125 K, where hardness is mapped as a function of temperature.

Schwiedrzik et al., ECI Nanomechanical Testing, Dubrovnik, 2017: https://www.dora.lib4ri.ch/empa/islandora/object/empa%3A14860/datastream/PDF/Schwiedrzik-2017-In_situ_micromechanical_testing_inside-%28published_version%29.pdf

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