Three-dimensional characterization of indentation topography: visual characterization

P. J. Sullivan, L. Blunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Characterization of indentation topography is of major importance in both understanding the mechanism of indentation process and revealing additional information regarding the mechanical behaviour of the test material. Indentation topography has so far been investigated qualitatively by means of powerful microscopes as well as the scanning electron microscope. Multiple-beam interferometry and two-dimensional profilometry have both been used, with limited success, in quantifying the disturbances resulting from the indentation process. A short review of the above techniques, highlighting the merits and limitations, is given. Because of these limitations a three-dimensional characterization system has been developed which in addition to its visual capabilities (e.g. real-time inversion and rotation) can numerically quantify topographic features such as pile-up. It is shown that limitations inherent in conventional characterization techniques do not apply to our newly developed system. The capabilities of this newly developed system are demonstrated through the examination of a number of microindentations produced in a zinc single-crystal material and a number of other materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-221
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1992
Externally publishedYes


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