The capillary force in micro- and nano-indentation with different indenter shapes

S. H. Chen, A. K. Soh

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The influence of the indenter shapes and various parameters on the magnitude of the capillary force is studied on the basis of models describing the wet adhesion of indenters and substrates joined by liquid bridges. In the former, we consider several shapes, such as conical, spherical and truncated conical one with a spherical end. In the latter, the effects of the contact angle, the radius of the wetting circle, the volume of the liquid bridge, the environmental humidity, the gap between the indenter and the substrate, the conical angle, the radius of the spherical indenter, the opening angle of the spherical end in the truncated conical indenter are included. The meniscus of the bridge is described using a circular approximation, which is reasonable under some conditions. Different dependences of the capillary force on the indenter shapes and the geometric parameters are observed. The results can be applicable to the micro- and nano-indentation experiments. It shows that the measured hardness is underestimated due to the effect of the capillary force.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3122-3137
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Solids and Structures
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Capillary force
  • Humidity
  • Indenter shape
  • Micro- and nano-indentation

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