AFM-based Dynamic Scanning Indentation (DSI) for Spatial Mapping of Soft Material Viscoelastic Properties

While Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) is a tried and true method for obtaining frequency-dependent viscoelastic properties of macroscale behavior in soft materials and composites, measuring local polymer viscoelastic properties (including the interphase) is a much greater challenge.  Using only commonly available capabilities of AFMs, we developed a method for fast, high-resolution (~15nm) spatial mapping local viscoelastic properties in heterogeneous soft, adhesive materials.  We demonstrated this ‘nano-DMA’ technique using three AFM instruments, producing master curves spanning an unprecedented 5 decades in frequency range in two different elastomers, validated by macroscale testing through traditional DMA.[1]



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Relevant Publications

[1] Pavan V. Kolluru, Matthew D. Eaton, David W. Collinson, Xu Cheng, David E. Delgado, Kenneth R. Shull, and L. Catherine Brinson

Macromolecules 2018 51 (21), 8964-8978.