Sensing the Mechanical Properties of Supported Micro- to Nano-elastic Films


Thin supported elastic nano- or micrometric films are everywhere in our everyday life, and it is often of outmost importance for the quality of their function in a given application to be able to characterize precisely their mechanical properties. We show in the present review that this is however a quite difficult mechanical problem. We briefly present the successive contact mechanics models which have been elaborated to take into account the observed apparent increased rigidity of those elastic films when they are confined between the supporting solid and another solid (the indenter) used to squeeze them and deduce their mechanical properties from load versus deformation curves. We discuss the limitations of these models and put a special emphasis on the more recent one, by E. Barthel, which, based on a semi-analytical resolution of the contact mechanics equations, seems to correctly account for series of systematic experiments where micrometric elastomer films supported by a silicon wafer are characterized in a JKR test with microlenses of the same elastomer. We discuss in details why an important drawback of essentially all indentation type tests is the fact that they usually do not give access to the actual size of the contact between the probe and the tested film. A consequence is that adhesion contributions can hardly be incorporated in a correct manner. We then propose a new soft liquid probe test, in which the supported films are mechanically solicited not by a direct contact with another solid, but by the adjustable stress field resulting from the oscillating flow of a liquid intercalated between the films to be tested and a sphere which can be approached from the film down to a fraction of nanometers. We analyze the potentialities of this new test and show that it presents two main advantages compared to conventional solid–solid contact tests. First, the adhesion terms do not change during the test, as the solids are immersed into the liquid, and second, the amplitude of the stress field can be varied and perfectly controlled in an impressive wide range; thanks to the well-known validity of the Reynolds equations down to a few molecular sizes.

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Sensing the Mechanical Properties of Supported Micro- to Nano-elastic Films
Book Title
Handbook of Nanomaterials Properties
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  • Bharat Bhushan Send Email (1)
  • Dan Luo Send Email (2)
  • Scott R. Schricker Send Email (3)
  • Wolfgang Sigmund Send Email (4)
  • Stefan Zauscher Send Email (5)
  • Editor Affiliation
  • 1 Nanoprobe Laboratory for Bio- & Nanotechnology and Biomimetics, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • 2 Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA
  • 3 Division of Restorative, Prosthetic and Primary Care, The Ohio State University, College of Dentistry, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • 4 Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA
  • 5 Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  • Authors
  • Frédéric Restagno Send Email (6)
  • Emmanuelle Martinot Send Email (6)
  • Richar Villey Send Email (7)
  • S. Leroy (7)
  • Christophe Poulard (6)
  • Elisabeth Charlaix Send Email (8)
  • Liliane Léger Send Email (6)
  • Author Affiliation
  • 6 Laboratoire de physique des solides, Université Paris-Sud – CNRS, Orsay, France
  • 7 Institut Lumière Matière, Université Lyon 1 – CNRS, Villeurbanne, France
  • 8 Laboratoire interdisciplinaire de physique, Université Grenoble 1, CNRS, Grenoble, France
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