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THE COMPELLING CASE FOR INDENTATION AS A FUNCTIONAL EXPLORATORY AND CHARACTERIZATION TOOL

Published

Author(s)

Robert F. Cook, David B. Marshall, Nitin P. Padture, Michelle L. Oyen, Antonia Pajares, Jodie E. Bradby, Ivar E. Reimanis, Rajan Tandon, Trevor F. Page, George M. Pharr, Brian R. Lawn

Abstract

The utility of indentation testing for characterizing a wide range of mechanical properties of brittle materials is highlighted in light of recent articles questioning its validity, specifically in relation to the measurement of toughness. Contrary to assertion by some critics, indentation fracture theory is fundamentally founded in Griffith–Irwin fracture mechanics, based on model crack systems evolving within inhomogeneous but well-documented elastic and elastic–plastic contact stress fields. Notwithstanding numerical inaccuracy in associated stress intensity factor relations, the technique remains an unrivalled quick, convenient and economical means for comparative, site-specific toughness evaluation. Most importantly, indentation patterns are unique fingerprints of mechanical behavior and thereby afford a powerful functional tool for exploring the richness of material diversity. At the same time, it is cautioned that unconditional usage without due attention to the conformation of the indentation patterns can lead to overstated toughness values. Limitations of an alternative, more engineering approach to fracture evaluation, that of propagating a pre-crack through a 'standard' machined specimen, are also outlined. Misconceptions in the critical literature concerning the fundamental nature of crack equilibrium and stability within contact and other inhomogeneous stress fields are discussed.
Citation
Journal of the American Ceramic Society
Volume
98
Issue
9

Keywords

indentation, fracture, toughness
Created September 15, 2015, Updated January 27, 2020