In situ materials characterization using the tissue diagnostic instrument


An understanding of the mechanical behavior of polymers is critical towards the design, implementation, and quality control of such materials. Yet experiments and method for the characterization of material properties of polymers remain challenging due the need to reconcile constitutive assumptions with experimental conditions. Well-established modes of mechanical testing, such as unconfined compression or uniaxial tension, require samples with specific geometries and carefully controlled orientations. Moreover, producing specimens that conform to such specifications often requires a considerable amount of sample material. In this study we validate a micromechanical indentation device, the Tissue Diagnostic Instrument (TDI), which implements a cyclic indentation method to determine the material properties of polymers and elastomeric materials. Measurements using the TDI require little or no sample preparation, and they allow the testing of sample materials in situ. In order to validate the use of the TDI, we compared measurements of modulus determined by the TDI to those obtained by unconfined compression tests and by uniaxial tension tests within the limit of small stresses and strains. The results show that the TDI measurements were significantly correlated with both unconfined compression (p<0.001; r2 = 0.92) and uniaxial tension tests (p<0.001; r2=0.87). Moreover, the measurements across all three modes of testing were statistically indistinguishable from each other (p=0.92; ANOVA) and demonstrate that TDI measurements can provide a surrogate for the conventional methods of mechanical characterization.

Polym Test. 2010 Apr 1; 29(2): 159–163. doi:  10.1016/j.polymertesting.2009.10.005