Scanning Microscopy


A loading device for performing fracture experiments on compact tension specimens in the SEM has been designed. Its key elements are a piezoelectric translator for applying controlled displacements to the loading points on the specimen and a load cell to measure applied loads. The effective transmission of displacement from the piezoelectric driver to the specimen was found to be the major mechanical design problem. The peripheral equipment includes a function generator and a high voltage amplifier that drives the piezoelectric translator as well as a video overlay and standard video equipment to record the image continuously during the course of the experiment. A case study on alumina describes qualitative observations on the toughening mechanism, crack-interface bridging, operating in this material. Quantitative information pertaining to the closure stresses associated with this toughening mode can be obtained by measuring the crack profile.

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