Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 21
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Camposilvan, Erik and Anglada, Marc 2016. Size and plasticity effects in zirconia micropillars compression. Acta Materialia, Vol. 103, p. 882.

    Hintsala, E.D. Wagner, A.J. Gerberich, W.W. and Mkhoyan, K.A. 2016. The role of back stress in sub-50nm Si nanocubes. Scripta Materialia, Vol. 114, p. 51.

    Kelling, Andreas Mangipudi, Kodanda Ram Knorr, Inga Liese, Tobias Krebs, Hans-Ulrich and Volkert, Cynthia A. 2016. Investigating fracture of nanoscale metal–ceramic multilayers in the transmission electron microscope. Scripta Materialia, Vol. 115, p. 42.

    Sarobol, Pylin Chandross, Michael Carroll, Jay D. Mook, William M. Bufford, Daniel C. Boyce, Brad L. Hattar, Khalid Kotula, Paul G. and Hall, Aaron C. 2016. Room Temperature Deformation Mechanisms of Alumina Particles Observed from In Situ Micro-compression and Atomistic Simulations. Journal of Thermal Spray Technology, Vol. 25, Issue. 1-2, p. 82.

    Wheeler, Jeffrey M. Raghavan, Rejin Wehrs, Juri Zhang, Yucheng Erni, Rolf and Michler, Johann 2016. Approaching the Limits of Strength: Measuring the Uniaxial Compressive Strength of Diamond at Small Scales. Nano Letters, Vol. 16, Issue. 1, p. 812.

    Armstrong, David E. J. and Tarleton, Edmund 2015. Bend Testing of Silicon Microcantilevers from 21°C to 770°C. JOM, Vol. 67, Issue. 12, p. 2914.

    Armstrong, D.E.J. Hardie, C.D. Gibson, J.S.K.L. Bushby, A.J. Edmondson, P.D. and Roberts, S.G. 2015. Small-scale characterisation of irradiated nuclear materials: Part II nanoindentation and micro-cantilever testing of ion irradiated nuclear materials. Journal of Nuclear Materials, Vol. 462, p. 374.

    Godet, Julien El Nabi, Firas Abed Brochard, Sandrine and Pizzagalli, Laurent 2015. Surface effects on the mechanical behavior of silicon nanowires: Consequence on the brittle to ductile transition at low scale and low temperature. physica status solidi (a), Vol. 212, Issue. 8, p. 1643.

    Guo, J.J. Madhav Reddy, K. Hirata, A. Fujita, T. Gazonas, G.A. McCauley, J.W. and Chen, M.W. 2015. Sample size induced brittle-to-ductile transition of single-crystal aluminum nitride. Acta Materialia, Vol. 88, p. 252.

    Issa, I. Amodeo, J. Réthoré, J. Joly-Pottuz, L. Esnouf, C. Morthomas, J. Perez, M. Chevalier, J. and Masenelli-Varlot, K. 2015. In situ investigation of MgO nanocube deformation at room temperature. Acta Materialia, Vol. 86, p. 295.

    Raghavan, Rejin Elias, Jamil Erni, Rolf Parlinska, Magdalena Philippe, Laetitia and Michler, Johann 2015. Mechanical behavior of intragranular, nano-porous electrodeposited zinc oxide. Thin Solid Films, Vol. 578, p. 174.

    Žagar, Goran Pejchal, Václav Mueller, Martin G. Rossoll, Andreas Cantoni, Marco and Mortensen, Andreas 2015. The local strength of microscopic alumina reinforcements. Acta Materialia, Vol. 100, p. 215.

    Amodeo, J. Devincre, B. Carrez, Ph. and Cordier, P. 2014. Dislocation reactions, plastic anisotropy and forest strengthening in MgO at high temperature. Mechanics of Materials, Vol. 71, p. 62.

    Schwiedrzik, Jakob Raghavan, Rejin Bürki, Alexander LeNader, Victor Wolfram, Uwe Michler, Johann and Zysset, Philippe 2014. In situ micropillar compression reveals superior strength and ductility but an absence of damage in lamellar bone. Nature Materials, Vol. 13, Issue. 7, p. 740.

    Shin, Chansun Lim, Sangyeob Jin, Hyung-ha Hosemann, Peter and Kwon, Junhyun 2014. Development and testing of microcompression for post irradiation characterization of ODS steels. Journal of Nuclear Materials, Vol. 444, Issue. 1-3, p. 43.

    Palacio, Manuel L.B. and Bhushan, Bharat 2013. Depth-sensing indentation of nanomaterials and nanostructures. Materials Characterization, Vol. 78, p. 1.

    Wheeler, J. M. and Michler, J. 2013. Elevated temperature, nano-mechanical testing in situ in the scanning electron microscope. Review of Scientific Instruments, Vol. 84, Issue. 4, p. 045103.

    Wheeler, J.M. Niederberger, C. Tessarek, C. Christiansen, S. and Michler, J. 2013. Extraction of plasticity parameters of GaN with high temperature, in situ micro-compression. International Journal of Plasticity, Vol. 40, p. 140.

    Korte, Sandra and Clegg, William J. 2012. Studying Plasticity in Hard and Soft Nb-Co Intermetallics. Advanced Engineering Materials, Vol. 14, Issue. 11, p. 991.

    Lacroix, R. Kermouche, G. Teisseire, J. and Barthel, E. 2012. Plastic deformation and residual stresses in amorphous silica pillars under uniaxial loading. Acta Materialia, Vol. 60, Issue. 15, p. 5555.


Fracture modes in micropillar compression of brittle crystals

  • Philip R. Howie (a1), Sandra Korte (a1) and William J. Clegg (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 September 2011

This article describes cracking during microcompression of Si, InAs, MgO, and MgAl2O4 crystals and compares this with previous observations on Si and GaAs micropillars. The most common mode of cracking was through-thickness axial splitting, the crack growing downward from intersecting slip bands in pillars above a critical size. The splitting behavior observed in all of these materials was quantitatively consistent with a previous analysis, despite the differences in properties and slip geometry between the different materials. Cracking above the slip bands also occurred either in the side or in the top surface of some pillars. The driving forces for these modes of cracking are described and compared with observations. However, only through-thickness axial splitting was observed to give complete failure of the pillar; it is, therefore, considered to be the most important in determining the brittle-to-ductile transitions that have been observed.

Corresponding author
a)Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

1.M.D. Uchic , D.M. Dimiduk , J.N. Florando , and W.D. Nix : Sample dimensions influence strength and crystal plasticity. Science 305, 986 (2004).

2.J.R. Greer and W.D. Nix : Size dependence of mechanical properties of gold at the sub-micron scale. Appl. Phys. A 80, 1625 (2005).

3.H. Bei , S. Shim , E.P. George , M. Miller , E. Herbert , and G. Pharr : Compressive strengths of molybdenum alloy micro-pillars prepared using a new technique. Scr. Mater. 57, 397 (2007).

4.F. Östlund , P.R. Howie , R. Ghisleni , S. Korte , K. Leifer , W.J. Clegg , and J. Michler : Ductile-brittle transition in micropillar compression of GaAs at room temperature. Philos. Mag. 91, 1190 (2011).

5.F. Östlund , K. Rzepiejewska-Malyska , K. Leifer , L.M. Hale , Y. Tang , R. Ballarini , W.W. Gerberich , and J. Michler : Brittle-to-ductile transition in uniaxial compression of silicon pillars at room temperature. Adv. Funct. Mater. 19, 2439 (2009).

6.J. Michler , K. Wasmer , S. Meier , F. Östlund , and K. Leifer : Plastic deformation of gallium arsenide micropillars under uniaxial compression at room temperature. Appl. Phys. Lett. 90, 043123 (2007).

7.S. Korte and W.J. Clegg : Discussion of the dependence of the effect of size on the yield stress in hard materials studied by microcompression of MgO. Philos. Mag. 91, 1150 (2010).

8.S.J. Lloyd , J.M. Molina-Aldareguia , and W.J. Clegg : Deformation under nanoindents in sapphire, spinel and magnesia examined using transmission electron microscopy. Philos. Mag. A. 82, 1963 (2002).

9.A. Kelly , G.W. Groves , and P. Kidd : Crystallography and Crystal Defects (Wiley, Chichester, 2000).

10.S. Bouvier and A. Needleman : Effect of the number and orientation of active slip systems on plane strain single crystal indentation. Modell. Simul. Mater. Sci. Eng. 14, 1105 (2006).

11.J.J. Gilman : Chemistry and Physics of Mechanical Hardness (Wiley, New York, 2009).

12.S. Korte and W. Clegg : Micropillar compression of ceramics at elevated temperatures. Scr. Mater. 60, 807 (2009).

14.J. Deneen Nowak , W.M. Mook , A.M. Minor , W.W. Gerberich , and C.B. Carter : Fracturing a nanoparticle. Philos. Mag. 87, 29 (2007).

15.J. Deneen , W.M. Mook , A.M. Minor , W.W. Gerberich , and C.B. Carter : In situ deformation of silicon nanospheres. J. Mater. Sci. 41, 4477 (2006).

16.W.W. Gerberich , W.M. Mook , C.R. Perrey , C.B. Carter , M.I. Baskes , R. Mukherjee , A. Gidwani , J. Heberlein , P.H. McMurry , and S.L. Girshick : Superhard silicon nanospheres. J. Mech. Phys. Solids. 51, 979 (2003).

17.A.A. Griffith : The phenomena of rupture and flow in solids. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. A. 221, 163 (1921).

18.C. Gurney and J. Hunt : Quasi-static crack propagation. Proc. Roy. Soc. A. 299, 508 (1967).

19.K. Kendall : Complexities of compression failure. Proc. Roy. Soc. A. 361, 245 (1978).

20.K.E. Puttick : The mechanics of indentation fracture in poly (methyl methacrylate). J. Phys. D. 11, 595 (1978).

21.A.R. Beaber , J.D. Nowak , O. Ugurlu , W.M. Mook , S.L. Girshick , R. Ballarini , and W.W. Gerberich : Smaller is tougher. Philos. Mag. 91, 1179 (2011).

23.H. Huang and W.W. Gerberich : Crack-tip dislocation emission arrangements for equilibrium–II. Comparisons to analytical and computer simulation models. Acta Metall. Mater. 40, 2873 (1992).

26.M.F. Ashby and C.G. Sammis : The damage mechanics of brittle solids in compression. Pure Appl. Geophys. 133, 489 (1990).

29.S. Adachi : Physical Properties of III-V Semiconductor Compounds (Wiley-VCH, New York, 1992).

30.F. Ericson and J-Å. Schweitz : Micromechanical fracture strength of silicon. J. Appl. Phys. 68, 5840 (2009).

31.J.J. Wortman and R.A. Evans : Young’s modulus, shear modulus, and Poisson’s ratio in silicon and germanium. J. Appl. Phys. 36, 153 (1965).

32.R.W. Rice , C.C. Wu , and K.R. McKinney : Fracture and fracture toughness of stoichiometric MgAl2O4 crystals at room temperature. J. Mater. Sci. 31, 1353 (1996).

33.A.K. Kushwaha : Vibrational and elastic properties of aluminate spinel MgAl2O4. Physica B 405, 2795 (2010).

34.C.L. Conner and K.T. Faber : Segregant-enhanced fracture in magnesium oxide. J. Mater. Sci. 25, 2737 (1990).

35.D-H. Chung : Elastic moduli of single crystal and polycrystalline MgO. Philos. Mag. 8, 833 (1963).

36.K. Hjort , J. Soderkvist , and J-Å. Schweitz : Gallium arsenide as a mechanical material. J. Micromech. Microeng. 4, 1 (1994).

37.J.L. Beuth : Cracking of thin bonded films in residual tension. Int. J. Solids Struct. 29, 1657 (1992).

38.T. Çağin , J. Che , M.N. Gardos , A. Fijany , and W.A. Goddard : Simulation and experiments on friction and wear of diamond: A material for MEMS and NEMS application. Nanotechnology 10, 278 (1999).

39.F.P. Bowden and C.A. Brookes : Frictional anisotropy in nonmetallic crystals. Proc. Roy. Soc. A 295, 244 (1966).

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Materials Research
  • ISSN: 0884-2914
  • EISSN: 2044-5326
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-materials-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *