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Applications of indentation in polymer industry

Polymeric materials have traditionally been characterized by large scale test instruments such as tensile testing or compression. However, with the development of new polymeric materials, more local testing methods are now required. Among the most important mechanical properties belongs elastic modulus as well as creep and viscoelastic properties. Many polymers also have special surface treatments or are applied in form of surface coatings and paints. Instrumented indentation has successfully been applied for various types of measurements in all these areas. This application report presents typical applications of nanoindentation for characterization of viscoelastic, creep and temperature dependent properties of polymers.

Instrumented indentation and mainly nanoindentation has been used for characterization of polymers in several areas, mainly for determination of their viscoelastic properties. These properties can easily be studied by nanoindentation in form of either dynamic mechanical testing (Sinus mode on Anton Paar nanoindenters) or by creep measurements. The great advantages of using nanoindentation for testing of polymers are mainly:

  1. Small size of the sample,
  2. Characterization in small volumes,
  3. Possibility to perform creep and dynamic measurements.

Indeed, nanoindentation requires only small samples that are usually easier to obtain than large, bulk samples. Furthermore, many samples are available only in form of films or sheets and their testing by conventional test machines is complicated.

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