Experimental evaluation of hardness, adhesion and Young’s modulus has been performed on polyimide polymeric coatings used in LCD displays and on composite polymer-based materials used in automobiles and aircraft. A novel Universal Nano+Micro Tester UNMT-1 with a nano-analyzer module NA-2 has been utilized. It measures scratch-hardness of coatings and thin films, utilizing the same nano-tip for both scratching and nano-imaging under the constant load. It measures scratch-adhesion with the same diamond tip for both scratching and nano-imaging under the continuously-increasing load. It evaluates homogeneity of films and composite materials by simultaneous Young’s modulus and topography nano-mapping, with a diamond nano-tip in a tapping mode, while frequency and phase of its vibrations are analyzed. The Young’s modulus maps allowed us to evaluate the distribution of SiO/Si02 particles embedded in araldite, with varying SiO/Si02 concentration. While the topography images could not distinguish between the particles and polymeric matrix, the nano-mechanical maps revealed the effects of particle concentration and agglomeration on the local modulus of the material and the relationship between the SiO/Si02 uniformity and uniformity in modulus. The nano-scratches of 60-nm polyimide coatings at progressively increasing and constant loads generated adhesion and scratch-hardness data, respectively. Within the applied loads of 20 to 100 μN, we observed and determined both the critical load, at which the coating was delaminated from the glass substrate, and a corresponding lateral delamination force. The mutually complimentary nano-images and force graphs coincided nicely.

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