The measurement of mechanical properties by nanoindentation methods is most often conducted using indenters with the Berkovich geometry (a triangular pyramid) or with a sphere. These indenters provide a wealth of information, but there are certain circumstances in which it would be useful to make measurements with indenters of other geometries. We have recently explored how the measurement of hardness and elastic modulus can be achieved using sharp indenters other than the Berkovich. Systematic studies in several materials were conducted with a Vickers indenter, a conical indenter with a half-included tip angle of 70.3", and the standard Berkovich indenter. All three indenters are geometrically similar and have nominally the same area-to-depth relationship, but there are distinct differences in the behavior of each. Here, we report on the application of these indenters in the measurement of hardness and elastic modulus by nanoindentation methods and some of the difficulties that occur.
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