Mechanical Testing of Solid-Solid Interfaces at the Microscale


In order to determine the influence of internal interfaces on the material’s global mechanical behavior, the strength of single interfaces is of great interest. The experimental framework presented here enables quantitative measurements of the initiation and propagation of interfacial cracks on the microscale. Cantilever beams are fabricated by focused ion beam milling out of a bulk sample, with an interface of interest placed close to the fixed end of the cantilever. Additionally, a U-notch is fabricated at the location of the interface to serve as a stress concentrator for the initiation of the crack. The cantilevers are then mechanically deflected using a nanoindentation system for high resolution load-displacement measurements. In order to determine the onset and propagation of damage, the stiffness of the cantilevers is recorded by partial unloads during the test as well as by making use of a continuous stiffness technique. A finite element model is used to normalize the load and stiffness in order to establish the framework for comparisons between different interfaces.
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