Journal of Materials Research


Using multidimensional contact mechanics experiments to measure Poisson's ratio

B.N. Lucasa1, J.C. Haya1 and W.C. Olivera2

a1 Fast Forward Devices, LLC, Knoxville, Tennessee 37931

a2 MTS Nano Instruments Innovation Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830


Using a new multidimensional contact mechanics system, the normal and tangential elastic contact stiffnesses of six bulk materials with Poisson’s ratios ranging from 0.17 to 0.42 were measured. It is shown that the experimentally measured tangential to normal stiffness ratio can be described as a function of the bulk Poisson’s ratio of the material as predicted by Mindlin. The technique shows a high sensitivity to variations in Poisson’s ratio, suggesting that the technique is a viable means for measuring the Poisson’s ratio of new novel materials. The technique was subsequently applied to two metal film–glass substrate systems. Experimental observations indicate that even when Poisson’s ratio mismatch between the film and the substrate is large, the technique yields appropriate bulk values for the Poisson’s ratio of the film. The experimental details and apparatus are introduced and described.

(Received March 24 2003)

(Accepted June 16 2003)

Key Words:

  • Mechanical properties;
  • Thin film;
  • Indentation
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