Journal of Materials Research


Size effects of nanoindentation creep

H. Lia1 and A.H.W. Ngana1

a1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China


The size effects on indentation creep were studied on single-crystal Ni3Al, polycrystalline pure Al, and fused quartz samples at room temperature. The stress exponents were measured by monitoring the displacement during constant indentation loads after correction for thermal drift effects. The stress exponents were found to exhibit a very strong size effect. In the two metals Al and Ni3Al, the stress exponent for very small indents is very small, and for Al, this even approaches unity, suggesting that linear diffusional flow may be the controlling mechanism. The stress exponents in these two metals rise rapidly to over 100 as the indent size gets larger, indicating a rapid change of the dominating mechanism to climb-controlled to eventually glide-controlled events. In fused quartz, the stress exponent also exhibits a sharply rising trend as the indent size increases. The stress exponent is also close to unity at the smallest indents studied, and it rises rapidly to a few tens as the indent size gets larger.

(Received July 24 2003)

(Accepted October 15 2003)

Key Words:

  • Nanoindentation;
  • Metal;
  • Glass