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Thin-film fracture during nanoindentation of a titanium oxide film–titanium system

  • M. Pang (a1) and D. F. Bahr (a1)

Abstract

Nanoindentation testing of the titanium oxide/titanium system with electrochemically grown oxide films exhibits permanent deformation prior to a yield excusion, indicating that the occurrence of this suddent discontinuity is predominantly controlled by oxide film cracking rather than dislocaton nucleation and multiplication. Observations of circumferential cracking also lend support to this explanation. A model has been developed to predict the mechanical response prior to oxide fracture for the case of a hard coating on a soft substrate. During loading contact, the hard coating undergoes elastic deflection which may include both bending and membrane stretching effects, while the substrate is elastoplastically deformed. The model works well for surface films thicker than 20 nm. Additionally, the maximum radial tensile stress in anodically grown titanium oxide, which is responsible for film cracking at the critical load, is approximately 15 GPa.

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