Surface Charge-Dependent Mechanical Behavior of Non-Metals

  • N. H. Macmillan
  • A. R. C. Westwood
Part of the Materials Science Research book series (MSR, volume 7)


The fact that chemisorbed, surface active species can significantly influence the microhardness of certain minerals was first noted by P. A. Rebinder in 19281. Subsequent studies2 established that such changes in hardness persist to depths of about 10 μm in a typical inorganic nonmetal, and that their magnitude depends not only on the environment but also on the type of bonding in the solid, the crystallographic orientation of the surface, the concentration and state of ionization of impurities in the solid, the magnitude and duration of the applied load, the temperature, the intensity of illumination incident upon the specimen, and on any potential applied to it. Recent studied have revealed useful correlation between environment-sensitive hardness and the ς-potential of the solid, i.e., the hardness of all inorganic nonmetals and glasses examined was greatest when ς ≃ 02. This “ς-correlation,” first noted for AgBr in aqueous bromide and AgI in aqueous iodide environments3, has now been established by Westwood and coworkers for Al2O3 in aqueous NaOH and the n-alcohols4; calcite in aqueous NaOH and HNO3 5; quartz in buffered and unbuffered aqueous Al(NO3)3 6; and soda-lime (s. 1.) glass in aqueous KCl7, Th(NO3)4 7 and dodecyl trimethyl ammonium bromide (DTAB) solutions, in n-alcohols2, and in solutions of KI in isopropyl alcohol2. It is possible that the “ς-correlation” is a property generic to inorganic nonmetals, both crystalline and noncrystalline. Figs. 1 and 2 provide examples of this correlation for quartz in aqueous Al(NO3)3 and glass in n-alcohols.


Chip Formation Drilling Rate Dislocation Mobility Dodecyl Trimethyl Ammonium Bromide Westerly Granite 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. H. Macmillan
    • 1
  • A. R. C. Westwood
    • 1
  1. 1.Martin Marietta LaboratoriesBaltimoreUSA

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