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Review of Instrumented Indentation



Mark R. VanLandingham


Instrumented indentation, also known as depth-sensing indentation or nanoindentation, is increasingly being used to probe the mechanical response of materials from metals and ceramics to polymeric and biological meaterials. The additional levels of control, sensitivity, and data acquisition offered by instrumented indentation systems have resulted in numerous advances in materials science, particularly regarding fundamental mechanisms of mechanical behavior at micron and even sub-micron length scales. Continued improvements of instrumented indentation testing towards absolute quantification of a wide range of material properties and behaviro will require advances in instrument calibration, measurement protocols, and analysis tools and techniques. In this paper, an overview of instrumented indentation is given with regard to current instrument technology and analysis methods. Research efforts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) aimed at improving the related measurement science are discussed.
Journal of Research (NIST JRES) -
108 No. 4


calibration methods, contact mechanics, depth-sensing indentation, elastic modulus, instrumented indentation, measurement science, nanoindentation, tip shape characterization


VanLandingham, M. (2003), Review of Instrumented Indentation, Journal of Research (NIST JRES), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed May 23, 2024)


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Created August 1, 2003, Updated February 19, 2017