Banner for LabNotes
From Lab Notes
Contact Information
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


You are here: FPL Home  / Information Products & Services  / Publications

Requested Product

Title: Determining the Elastic Modulus of Compliant Thin Films Supported on Substrates from Flat Punch Indentation Measurements

Source: Experimental Mechanics; published online January 2013. pp. 11.

Author(s)Wald, M.J.; Considine, J.M.; Turner, K.T.

Publication Year: 2013  View PDF »

Category: Journal Articles
Associated Research Project(s):   FPL-4709-4B

Abstract: Instrumented indentation is a technique that can be used to measure the elastic properties of soft thin films supported on stiffer substrates, including polymer films, cellulosic sheets, and thin layers of biological materials. When measuring thin film properties using indentation, the effect of the substrate must be considered. Most existing models for determining the properties of thin films from indentation measurements were developed for metal and dielectric films bonded to semiconductor substrates and have been applied to systems with film-substrate modulus ratios between 0.1 and 10. In the present work, flat punch indentation of a thin film either bonded to or in contact with a substrate is examined using finite element modeling. A broad range of film-substrate modulus ratios from 0.0001 to 1 are investigated. As the substrate is effectively rigid compared to the film when the film-substrate modulus ratio is less than 0.0001, the results are also useful for understanding systems with lower film-substrate modulus ratios. The effects of the contact radius, film thickness, elastic properties, and friction between the film and the substrate on the measured stiffness were quantified using finite element modeling in order to understand how the elastic properties of the film can be extracted from indentation measurements. A semi-analytical model was developed to describe the finite element modeling results and facilitate the use of the results to analyze experimental measurements. The model was val-idated through analysis of indentation measurements of thin polyethylene sheets that were supported on substrates of various stiffness.

Keywords: Indentation; thin films; finite elements; substrate effects; soft material

Publication Review Process: Formally Refereed

File size: 649 kb(s)

Date posted: 03/07/2013

This publication is also viewable on Treesearch:  view
RITS Product ID: 63459
Current FPL Scientist associated with this product
Considine, John M.
Materials Research Engineer

Additional items that might interest you
View the video celebrating FPL's 100 years of public service in 2010, from the producers of the Greatest Good....view

Research Highlights from FPL....view

Termite Eradication: A search for the Holy Grail.... view

Moisture Management in Residential Construction Series videos...view

Wood Floor Systems in Residential Construction Series videos....view
- FPL's Mission and Strategic Plan -

FPL's mission is to identify and conduct innovative wood and fiber utilization research that contributes to conservation and productivity of the forest resource, thereby sustaining forests, the economy, and quality of life. ... ..more »

- FPL Research Emphasis Areas -
Advanced Composites

As an integral part of the FPL mission, we improve the long-term sustainability of our Nation's forests by creating valuable composite products from biobased materials ... ..more »

Advanced Structures

The FPL has been in the forefront of wood-frame housing research since 1910 and has long been recognized as a world leader in such housing-related areas as engineered wood ... ..more »

Forest Biorefinery

We all know the compelling reasons that the United States needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. Historically, the greatest increases in energy demand have been for transportation fuels ... ..more »


A leader in wood products research for over a century, the FPL is positioning itself to become the lead Federal research facility for the application of nanotechnology in forest products ... more »

Woody Biomass Utilization

Forests in the United States contain a substantial amount of small-diameter, overstocked, and underutilized material.FPL research projects are exploring the potential of the small-diameter ... ..more »