Using Nanoindentation to Determine the Relative Brittleness of Materials

Professor Dahmen and collaborators have developed a method for determining failure stress and other mechanical properties of materials using a conventional nanoindentation instrument. This method relies on a model previously developed by Prof. Dahmen's group which assumes solid materials contain elastically coupled weak spots that can slip in response to an applied load. These slips can be seen as jumps in nanoindenter displacement which can be further characterized to determine failure stress and other mechanical properties. Using this model, the high throughput screening of the relative brittleness of materials can be accomplished in as little as 10 measurements in an effectively non-destructive fashion. Additionally, this versatile method can be applied to amorphous and crystalline solids, such as bulk metallic glasses, high entropy alloys, and a large number of other solids.