Observations on interphase characterisation in polymer composites by AFM and FEA
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A commonly held perception is that the results of indentation studies of polymer composites, by instrumented nanoindentation testing (IIT) and atomic force microscopy (AFM), automatically reveal an interphase of mechanically different properties to the matrix or reinforcement [1-2].
Despite the increasing resolution of IIT and AFM techniques, it is not always possible to measure thin interphases where the dimensions are similar to those of the indenter-surface contact area.
The use of indentation for mechanical characterisation continues to be explored for multi-phase systems, and there is need for a method to evaluate quickly whether a given indentation is influenced by neighbouring material phases.
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