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Title: A novel pillar indentation splitting test for measuring fracture toughness of thin ceramic coatings

Fracture toughness is an important material property that plays a role in determining the in-service mechanical performance and adhesion of thin ceramic films. Unfortunately, measuring thin film fracture toughness is affected by influences from the substrate and the large residual stresses that can exist in the films. In this paper, we explore a promising new technique that potentially overcomes these problems based on nanoindentation testing of micro-pillars produced by focused ion beam milling of the films. By making the pillar diameter approximately equal to its length, the residual stress in the pillar’s upper portion is almost fully relaxed, and when indented with a sharp Berkovich indenter, the pillars fracture by splitting at reproducible loads that are readily quantified by a sudden displacement excursion in the load displacement behavior. Cohesive finite element simulations are used to analyze and develop, for a given material, a simple relation between the critical load at failure, pillar radius, and fracture toughness. The main novel aspect of this work is that neither crack geometries nor crack sizes need to be measured post test. Furthermore, the residual stress can be measured at the same time with toughness, by comparing the indentation results from the stress-free pillars andmore » the as-deposited film. The method is tested on three different hard coatings formed by physical vapor deposition: titanium nitride, chromium nitride, and a CrAlN/Si 3N 4 nanocomposite. Results compare well to independently measured values of fracture toughness for the three brittle films. The technique offers several benefits over existing methods.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3]
  1. Univ. of Rome (Italy)
  2. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  3. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Philosophical Magazine (2003, Print)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Philosophical Magazine (2003, Print); Journal Volume: 95; Journal Issue: 16-18; Journal ID: ISSN 1478-6435
Taylor & Francis
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
42 ENGINEERING; fracture toughness; nanoindentation; pillar; residual stress; micron scale