Saxonian Institute of Surface Mechanics

Measurement and Analysis Services

SIO's measurement and analysis services

We not only organize measurements on leading technical instruments (e.g. UNHT, MHT, NST, MST, UNAT mit LFU, NanoTest Vantage, Nano Indenter G200, Nanoindenter XP, UMIS 2000 etc.) which are most appropriate to your product and application, but also offer accurate dimensioning and physical analysis of all mechanical contact measurements including a final report which is adapted directly to your product.

Our specialty are specifically designed experiments and their physical analysis way better than any standard:

Material Characterization via Nanoindentation – Standard Measurements

Mechanical characterization by means of standard measurements
mechanical characterization by means of physical analysis of standard surface measurements

Demands on sample quality and size

Maximum sample size:approx. 70 x 50 x 30 mm³ (length, width, height)
Optimum sample size:approx. 10 x 10 x 3 mm³
Minimum sample size:approx. 1 x 1 x 0.3 mm³

Other sizes require consultation.
Sample surface and bottom have to be flat and parallel (a curvature of the upper side is acceptable if the radius is not too small).

New: By using special adapters it now is possible to measure also small non-planar samples (e. g. samples with strongly curved surfaces). That is how twist drills with only 1 mm radius can be measured. Please contact us if you intend to measure such samples.

Surface roughness should be as low as possible.
As a rule of thumb:
Ra<5 nm or Ra<5% of the penetration depth or Ra<1% of the film thickness in areas of at least 10 x 10 µm².

Typical prices (net) for measuring one sample by Berkowich indenter

140€ one load + 30€ with subsequent SIO-Analysis
175€ with three different loads + 60€ with subsequent SIO-Analysis
200€ with five different loads + 100€ with subsequent SIO-Analysis
volume discount is possible

Without the special SIO analysis only the standard parameters Young's modulus and hardness will be determined. Please be aware of the fact, that in the case of layered materials these parameters are only effective ones presenting a mixture of all constituents of the sample. The error can be quite dramatic especially in the case of relatively thin, inhomogeneous coatings with big differences to the substrate. This also holds in cases where the so called Bückle-rule (also known as 10% rule) provides a false safety. We therefore suggest using SIO-Analysis which also allows the determination of yield strength and the evaluation of the complete effective field in the moment of beginning unloading or even the animation of the whole penetration process [5].

Request your quotation!

Material characterization by surface tests of the next generation – Non-Standard Measurements

Application-oriented mechanical characterization by means of tailored measurements
Application-oriented mechanical characterization by means of physical evaluation of specific contact measurements which are tailored to the application by dimensioning them.
The OpenPlatform of CSM Instrumens with UNHT, NST, and AFM

With additional lateral loads more material parameters and structural information can be determined (e.g. fracture limits and intrinsic stresses).
All measurements and analyses can be performed time and temperature resolved.

Other indenter geometries and tests (+40€ for coating thicknesses below 100nm)

  • Nanoscratch tests (allows determination of failure mechanisms under realistic mixed loading conditions, much closer to the later application) from 300€ (net) including SIO-Analysis
  • Complete field animation of any contact (indenter-, scratch- or groove-) tests
  • Elastic spherical indentation from 200€ (net) inclusive SIO-Analysis
  • Special lateral force indentation on request, but similar to nanoscratch test
  • Determination of local intrinsic stresses via Nanoindenter [3], also possible as complete surface mapping
  • Determination of Poisson's ratio (no estimation as in classical O&P method) à s. [6, 7]
  • Complete correction of pile-up and sink-in effects [6, 7]
  • Determination of local residual stresses via defect approach [3], also possible as complete surface mapping
  • Determination of local anisotropy via Nanoindenter [8], also possible as complete surface mapping

As there is a great variety of measurement possibilities, SIO suggest a proper pre-dimensioning of the measurement itself. Thereby we design an optimum measurement process perfectly adjusted to the sample in question, its later application and service life span. This includes suggesting the best measurement devoice, indenter types and sizes, loads (normal, mixed, tilted, twisted …), analyzing methods, expected errors etc.

Ask for your quotation!

Mechanical Characterization

The most important aim of mechanical characterization is the evaluation of generic material properties, which are independent of measurement conditions (like material structure of the sample, maximum indentation depth, initial and final load, velocity etc.). Hence, it is necessary to take all these measurement conditions into account to evaluate such measurement properly. That is why we have extended the classic Oliver&Pharr method for such conditions. This Oliver&Pharr method extended for layered materials (Oliver&Pharr for Coatings) enables you to calculate - among others - the following generic material properties:

  • real Young's modulus of each layer or the substrate (elastic modulus)
  • yield strength of each layer or the substrate
  • Poisson's ratio of each layer or the substrate
  • intrinsic, thermal, or residual stresses of each layer or the substrate
  • tensile strength
  • adhesive strength
  • critical stresses of all fracture modes (mode I crack, mode II crack, and mode III crack)
  • layer thicknesses

Only these generic physical material properties can be reused in nearly any other surface structure (e.g. for surface optimization by means of modelling and simulation) without being obliged to repeat the characterization.

Of course, we can determine the correct hardness, too. But be aware: Hardness is neither a physical nor a generic material property!

Privacy Policy

We treat all your information and data as strictly confidential and will not pass them to any third party.


[1]N. Schwarzer: "The extended Hertzian theory and its uses in analysing indentation experiments", Phil. Mag. 86(33-35) 21 Nov - 11 Dec 2006 5153 – 5767, Special Issue: "Instrumented Indentation Testing in Materials Research and Development"
[2]N. Schwarzer, "Modelling of the mechanics of thin films using analytical linear elastic approaches", Habilitationsschrift der TU-Chemnitz 2004, FB Physik Fester Körper, published in the online-archive of Technical University of Chemnitz available at:
[3]N. Schwarzer, (2007) "Intrinsic stresses – Their influence on the yield strength and their measurement via nanoindentation", online archives of Saxonian Institute of Surface Mechanics
[4]N. Schwarzer: "Short note on the potential use of a rotating indenter with respect to the next generation of nanoindenters", Int. J. Surface Science and Engineering, Vol.1 2007 2/3, pp. 239-258
[5]N. Schwarzer: "An Extension of the Oliver and Pharr Method to Ultra-Thin Structures, Coatings, Functionally Graded Coatings and Multilayer Systems", online archives of Saxonian Institute of Surface Mechanics
[6]N. Schwarzer: "Short Note: Some Basic Equations for the Next Generation of Surface Testers Solving the Problem of Pile-up, Sink-in and Making Area-Function-Calibration obsolete"e;, Journal of Material Research, special issue instrumented indentation, submitted July 2008 (s. also [7])
[7]N. Schwarzer: "Basic Equations for the Next Generation of Surface Testers for the Case of an Elastic Indenter and a Layered Samples"e;, online archive of the Saxionian Institute of Surface Mechanics,
[8]GEMO-Projektbericht: "Generalisierbare und skalierbare Modelle zur Bestimmung von physikalisch-mechanischen Oberflächeneigenschaften", Projekt-Nr. 10727/1656

Thank you for your interest in our services! Please do not hesitate to ask for your special quotation or solutions!

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