Mechanical property measurement by indentation techniques
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The mechanical properties of materials are usually evaluated by performing a tensile or hardness test on the sample. Tensile tests are often time consuming, destructive and need specially prepared specimens. On the other hand, there is no direct theoretical correlation between the hardness number and the mechanical properties of a material although phenomenological relationships do exist. The advantages of indentation techniques are that they are non-destructive, quick, and can be applied to small material samples and localized in fashion. Mechanical properties are typically determined from spherical indentation load-depth curves. This process is again a time consuming one and not suitable for situations where a quick assessment is required such as in the sheet metal rolling industry. In the present study, a novel method of measuring mechanical properties of the material by multiple spherical indentations is developed. A series of indentations are made on the substrate with a spherical indenter with different loads. The diameter of the indentation is related to the load applied to determine the mechanical properties of the material, namely the yield strength and the work hardening parameters. To determine the diameter of the indentation quickly, a fiber optic sensing technique is developed. An incident light beam from a semiconductor laser is coupled back into an optical fiber upon reflection from the metal surface. By measuring the diffused light power reflected from the metal surface, the diameter of the indentation is measured. The spherical indentation technique is difficult for real time mechanical property measurement of sheet metal in a processing line. Problems arise as the strip is traveling at 2,000 to 4,000 ft/min (10,000 to 20,000 mm/sec) in the processing line. As a first step in developing a process that could be implemented in a real time processing line, a preliminary study has been conducted for the prediction of yield strength by laser shock processing.