Nanoindentation tests at the nano-micrometer scales are conducted to investigate the depth and time dependent deformation mechanisms of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). Astonishing indentation size effects observed in these experiments are analyzed with an existing theoretical hardness model, and the effects of loading time on the hardness and indentation stiffness of PDMS are studied. The change in the indentation recovery with respect to indentation depth and loading time are analyzed. Furthermore, it is shown that the stiffness of PDMS obtained at the maximum applied force can be efficiently applied to validate the applied theoretical hardness model with the experimental results.

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