Nanoindentation creep of supercrystalline nanocomposites

Cong Yan, Büsra Bor, Alexander Plunkett, Berta Domenech, Verena Maier-Kiener, Diletta Giuntini

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Supercrystalline nanocomposites (SCNCs) are inorganic-organic hybrid materials with a unique periodic nanostructure, and thus they have been gaining growing attention for their intriguing functional properties and parallelisms with hierarchical biomaterials. Their mechanical behavior remains, however, poorly understood, even though its understanding and control are important to allow SCNCs’ implementation into devices. An important aspect that has not been tackled yet is their time-dependent deformation behavior, which is nevertheless expected to play an important role in materials containing such a distribution of organic phase. Hereby, we report on the creep of ceramic-organic SCNCs with varying degrees of organic crosslinking, as assessed via nanoindentation. Creep strains and their partial recoverability are observed, hinting at the co-presence of viscoelasticity and viscoplasticity, and a clear effect of crosslinking in decreasing the overall material deformability emerges. We rationalize our experimental observations with the analysis of stress exponent and activation volume, resulting in a power-law breakdown behavior and governing deformation mechanisms occurring at the organic sub-nm interfaces scale, as rearrangement of organic ligands. The set of results is reinforced by the evaluation of the strain rate sensitivity via strain rate jump tests, and the assessment of the effect of oscillations during continuous stiffness measurement mode.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112000
Number of pages14
JournalMaterials and Design
Issue numberJuly
Early online date17 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

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