Viscoelastic modeling of nanoindentation experiments: A multicurve method

Meiyu Zhai, Gregory B. McKenna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Nanoindentation is an increasingly used method of extracting surface mechanical properties of viscoelastic materials, especially polymers. Recently, Hutcheson and McKenna used a viscoelastic contact mechanics model to analyze the contact problem between a nanosphere and polystyrene surface. In nanoindentation experiments, the ramp loading test is a similar problem to the particle embedment experiment except that the indentation load function differs. The motivation in this work is to expand the Hutcheson and McKenna analysis to the nanoindentation problem. In particular, we illustrate the limitations of analyzing only a single load-indentation curve, which does not provide enough information to determine the full range of the viscoelastic response of a polymer, and we show that performing a test sequence that includes multiple loading rates or indentation rates spanning two or more orders of magnitude greatly improves the extracted viscoelastic properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-639
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2014


  • compliance
  • modulus
  • nanoindentation
  • ramp loading
  • viscoelastic


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