Depth-sensing indentation instruments provide a means for studying the elastic and plastic properties of thin films. A method for obtaining hardness and Young's modulus from the data obtained from these types of instruments is described. Elastic displacements are determined from the data obtained during unloading of the indentation. Young's modulus can be calculated from these measurements. In addition, the elastic contribution to the total displacement can be removed in order to calculate hardness. Determination of the exact shape of the indenter at the tip is critical to the measurement of both hardness and elastic modulus for indentation depths less than a micron. Hardness is shown to depend on strain rate, especially when the hardness values are calculated from the data along the loading curves.
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