Mechanical Characterization of a Single Nanofiber

Experimental Techniques
  • E. P. S. Tan
  • C. T. Lim


Biodegradable polymeric nanofibrous scaffolds have been used extensively for tissue engineering. The stiffness of the individual nanofibers in these scaffolds can determine not only the structural integrity of the scaffold, but also the various functions of the living cells seeded on it. Therefore, there is a need to study the nanomechanical properties of these individual nanofibers. However, mechanical testing of these fibers individually at the nanoscale can pose great challenges and difficulties. Here, we present experimental techniques to test single polymeric nanofibers - namely tensile test, three-point bend test and indentation test at the nanoscale. For demonstration of the nano tensile test, we proposed the use of a nano tensile tester to perform pull test of a single nanofiber. For three-point bend test, a nanofiber is suspended across a microsized groove etched on a silicon wafer. An AFM tip is then used to apply a point load on the mid-span of the suspended nanofiber. For nanoindentation test, a nanofiber is deposited on a mica substrate and an AFM tip is used to indent the nanofiber. Mechanical properties such as Young’s modulus, stress and strain at break of a single ultrafine fiber can then be obtained from these tests.

Key words

Nanomechanical characterization polymer nanofibers tensile test three-point bend test nanoindentation 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. P. S. Tan
    • 1
  • C. T. Lim
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Bioengineering and Department of Mechanical EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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