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Fracture of Nanomaterials


Material Measurement Laboratory, Materials Measurement Science Division

RO# Location
50.64.31.B6771 Gaithersburg, MD

Please note: This Agency only participates in the February and August reviews.


Name E-mail Phone
Cook, Robert Francis 301.975.3207


The potential advantages and potential pitfalls of dominant surface phenomena in nanostructured materials and devices are well known, but utilization and avoidance of these phenomena tax current experimental abilities. One method of studying surfaces is through the creation of surface through fracture. Controlled creation of fracture at the nanometer-scale has several potential applications, including: measurement of toughness in very small volumes and thin layers; “on-demand” creation of small amounts of fresh surface for surface science applications; study of the non-continuum aspects of nano-crack stress-fields and bond scission at crack tips; and nanotribological wear mechanisms. Typically, indentation is used to create controlled fracture in brittle materials; but, at the micro- and nanoscale, the indenting probe must be very acute to induce fracture, which is a poorly-understood contact problem. The ultimate goal is to develop new experimental methods and analysis for studying nanoscale fracture phenomena that do not rely on the direct imaging of the cracks, but instead use an indenting probe (or other nanomechanical apparatus) as a sensitive “crack-compliance” detector.


Fracture mechanics; Instrumented indentation; Micromechanics; Nanoindentation; Nanomaterials; Nanomechanics; Surface;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants
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