Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 19, Issue 12, pp 4061–4067 | Cite as

Measurement of thin-layer surface stresses by indentation fracture

  • Brian R. Lawn
  • Edwin R. FullerJr


A model is developed for evaluating stresses in the surfaces of brittle materials from changes in indentation crack dimensions. The underlying basis of the model is a stress intensity formulation incorporating the solution for a penny-like crack system subjected to a constant stress over a relatively thin surface layer. Results from a previous study of surface damage in proton-irradiated glass are used to illustrate the scope of the method. The indentation fracture analysis also provides some fresh insight into the susceptibility of brittle surfaces to spontaneous cracking. Implications of the study concerning the potential effect of surface stresses on mechanical properties, such as strength, erosion and wear, are briefly discussed.


Polymer Mechanical Property Surface Layer Brittle Stress Intensity 
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Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall Ltd. 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian R. Lawn
    • 1
  • Edwin R. FullerJr
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Materials ScienceNational Bureau of StandardsWashington, DCUSA

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