Cryogenic nanoindentation of single crystalline Copper, Chromium and Tungsten

Raphael Esterl

Research output: ThesisDiploma Thesis

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The increasing digitalization and rising number of electronic devices is accompanied by a decreasing size of microelectronic components. This development requires the knowledge of mechanical properties of materials at small scales. Nanoindentation profiles itself as technique to investigate the behavior at these dimensions. Two phenomenona protrude in this context. One the one hand side an increasing hardness with decreasing indentation depths, the so-called Indentation Size Effect is observed. Furthermore, the transition from elastic to plastic behavior manifests itself as discontinuity in the typical load-displacement curve. To investigate the size effect and the onset of plasticity, the so-called pop-in event, and especially their temperature dependence, single crystalline materials, namely Copper as representative of face centered cubic metals, as well as Chromium and Tungsten as body centered cubic metals, were analyzed at room temperature as well as at -150°C. The major challenge for investigating the size effect at cryogenic temperature consisted in controlling thermal drift, which can be associated to a temperature difference between sample and indenter tip. However, the examinations delivered an increasing size effect with decreasing temperature for Copper. This behavior is in accordance to several scientific investigations of face centered cubic metals at elevated temperatures. Chromium showed the opposite trend as the size effect decreased with reduced temperatures. This phenomenon correlates as well to first scientific investigations that body centered cubic metals posses a decreasing size effect below a material specific critical temperature. Furthermore, we showed that the specific force necessary for the initiation of plasticity increases with decreasing temperature. This underlines the importance of thermally activated processes on the nucleation of dislocations.
Translated title of the contributionTieftemperatur-Nanoindentierung von einkristallinem Kupfer, Chrom und Wolfram
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Montanuniversität
  • Kiener, Daniel, Supervisor (internal)
Award date30 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

embargoed until null


  • nanoindentation
  • single crystals
  • cryogenic temperatures
  • indentation size effect
  • tungsten
  • copper
  • chromium

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