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Nanoindentation Technique Enables Faster, Easier Evaluation of Creep
Agilent Technologies Inc. has developed a new method for evaluating creep via the use of instrumented indentation. Available exclusively in the Agilent NanoSuite software package for the Agilent Nano Indenter G200 platform, the technique is simpler, faster, and easier than uniaxial creep testing. It can be used to map the spatial distribution of creep capacity in complex materials and is insensitive to thermal drift.
The G200 uses electromagnetic actuation to achieve dynamic range in force and displacement. It enables measurement of Young’s modulus and hardness in compliance with ISO 14577, as well as measurement of deformation over six orders of magnitude—from nanometers to millimeters. The new test method allows researchers to measure strain-rate sensitivity, the most important quantification of creep. It overcomes problems associated with long testing times by imposing small strain rates only when the applied force is large. Values acquired on standard references with the new technique are in agreement with values obtained by others on similar materials using both instrumented indentation and uniaxial creep testing.
For more information: Agilent Technologies, P.O. Box 4026, Englewood, CO 80155-4026; tel: 800/829-4444; fax: 800/829-4433; web: www.agilent.com.
Materials Website Features Tools that Predict How Compounds React with Each Other
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, California, have developed Materials Project (www.materialsproject.org), a website that contains a database of more than 18,000 chemical compounds. The site’s tools can quickly predict how two compounds will react with one another, what the molecular structure of the resulting composite will be, and how stable it would be at different temperatures and pressures. The project is a direct outgrowth of MIT’s Materials Genome Project, initiated in 2006 by Gerbrand Ceder, the Richard P. Simmons (1953) Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. The idea, he says, is that the site “would become the Google of material properties,” making available data previously scattered in many different places, most of them not even searchable. For example, it used to require months of work—consulting tables of data, performing calculations, and carrying out precise lab tests—to create a single phase diagram showing when compounds incorporating several different elements would be solid, liquid, or gas. Now, such a diagram can be generated in a matter of minutes, Ceder says.
The new tool could revolutionize product development in fields from energy to electronics to biochemistry, its developers say, much as search engines have transformed the ability to search for arcane bits of knowledge. The Materials Project is much more than a database of known information, says Ceder. The tool computes properties of many materials in real time, on request, using the vast supercomputing capacity of the Lawrence Berkeley Lab. “We still don’t know most of the properties of most materials,” he says, but adds that in many cases these can be derived from known formulas and principles.
For more information: www.materialsproject.org.