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Nanomechanical Testing for Fracture of Oxide Films

  • K.R. Morasch (a1) and D.F. Bahr (a1)


The mechanical properties of thermally grown oxide films on various aluminum substrates were tested using nanoindentation. A sudden discontinuity, indicative of film fracture, was observed upon loading portion of the load–depth curve. The 63-nm-thick films were determined to have ultimate strengths between 4.8 and 8.9 GPa. The ultimate stress is a superposition of the bending and membrane stress. The stress intensity at fracture for each of the films was developed by approximating the resulting bending moment and various cracks sizes. At a constant ratio of crack size to oxide thickness of 0.3, the applied stress intensity at fracture of these aluminum oxide films were between 0.46 and 1.20 MPa m1/2. The residual stress in the film was assumed to be negligible in the stress intensity calculation.


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