This part of ISO 14577 specifies a method for testing coatings which is particularly suitable for testing in the nano/micro range applicable to thin coatings.
This test method is limited to the examination of single layers when the indentation is carried out normal to the test piece surface, but graded and multilayer coatings can also be measured in cross-section if the thickness of the individual layers or gradations is greater than the spatial resolution of the indentation process.
The test method is not limited to any particular type of material. Metallic, non-metallic and organic coatings are included in the scope of this part of ISO 14577.
The application of this part of ISO 14577 regarding measurement of hardness is only possible if the indenter is a pyramid or a cone with a radius of tip curvature small enough for plastic deformation to occur within the coating. The hardness of visco-elastic materials, or materials exhibiting significant creep will be strongly affected by the time taken to perform the test.
NOTE 1 – ISO 14577-1 and ISO 14577-3 define usage of instrumented indentation testing of bulk materials over all force and displacement ranges.
NOTE 2 – The application of the method of this part of ISO 14577 is not needed if the indentation depth is so small that in any possible case a substrate influence can be neglected and the coating can be considered as a bulk material. Limits for such cases are given.
NOTE 3 – The analysis used here does not make any allowances for pile-up or sink-in of indents. Use of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) to assess the indent shape allows the determination of possible pile-up or sink-in of the surface around
the indent. These surface effects result in an under-estimate (pile-up) or over-estimate (sink-in) of the contact area in the analysis and hence may influence the measured results. Pile-up generally occurs for fully work-hardened materials. Pileup of soft, ductile materials is more likely for thinner coatings due to the constraint of the stresses in the zone of plastic
deformation in the coating. It has been reported that the piled up material results in an effective increase of the contact area for the determination of hardness, while the effect is less pronounced for the determination of indentation modulus,
since the piled up material behaves less rigidly , .