Experimental Mechanics

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 85-95

New Double Indentation Technique for Measurement of the Elasticity Modulus of Thin Objects

  • J. A. M. SoonsAffiliated withLaboratory of Biomedical Physics, University of Antwerp Email author 
  • , I. de BaereAffiliated withMaterials Science and Engineering, Ghent University
  • , J. J. J. DirckxAffiliated withLaboratory of Biomedical Physics, University of Antwerp

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In this paper we introduce a new method to determine the Young’s modulus of thin (biological) samples. The method is especially suitable for small objects with a thickness of a few hundred micrometers. Such specimens cannot be examined with existing tests: compression and tensile tests need well-known geometry and boundary conditions while classic indentation tests need relatively thick pieces of material. In order to determine the elastic modulus we use the indentation theory as proposed by Sneddon and correct it with a finite element calculated κ factor to compensate for the small thickness. In order to avoid material deformations at the contact zone between the sample bottom and the sample stage, we replace the sample stage by a second indentation needle. In this way the sample can be clamped between two identical needles and a virtual mirror plane is introduced. The new method was used on four test-materials and results agreed well with the outcome of a standard compression method applied on large samples of the same materials. As an application example the technique was applied on thin biological samples, namely middle ear ossicles of rabbits.


Double indentation Elasticity modulus Thin objects FE modelling Measurement method Middle ear ossicle bone