Densification of nanoporous metals during nanoindentation: The role of structural and mechanical properties


The analysis of the densification behavior of nanoporous metals in nanoindentation is challenging in simulations and experiments. A deeper understanding of the densification behavior provides valuable information about the different deformation mechanisms in nanoindentation and compression experiments. The developed two-scale model allows for predicting the densification field for variable microstructure and elastic–plastic behavior. It could be shown that the penetration depth of the densification field is mainly controlled by the ratio of the macroscopic work hardening rate to yield stress. The shape as well as the value at characteristic isolines of densification depend mainly on the macroscopic plastic response of the nanoporous material. This could be confirmed by nanoindentation experiments, where the densification under the indenter was measured for ligament sizes from 35 to 150 nm. Although the depth of the densification field was underpredicted by the simulations, the experiments confirmed the predicted trends.
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