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Mechanical behavior in the interior and boundary of magnesium aluminate spinel (MgAl2O4) grain under nanoindentation

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Abstract

The understanding of mechanical behavior in magnesium aluminate spinel (${\rm{MgA}}{{\rm{l}}_2}{{\rm{O}}_4}$) at the nanoscale lays a foundation for its material removal mechanism in ultraprecision machining. Nanoindentation tests are carried out in the interior and boundary of spinel grain with different loads. An obvious indentation size effect exhibits in both of these areas. First, the nano-hardness and elastic modulus decrease, followed by stabilization due to an increase of pressure. The measured elastic modulus, hardness, and fracture toughness of the grain interior are ${277.7}\;{{\pm}}\;{8.4}\;{\rm{GPa}}$, ${19.79}\;{{\pm}}\;{0.83}\;{\rm{GPa}}$, and ${1.12}\;{{\pm}}\;{0.02}\;{\rm{MPa\cdot}}{{\rm{m}}^{1/2}}$, respectively. Deformation of spinel transits from elastic to plastic at approximately 0.8 mN load, which corresponds to the discontinuous steps of load-displacement curves. By comparing the fracture toughness and the residual indent morphology, the grain boundary exhibits lower brittleness than the grain interior. Radial cracks form on the grain surface as indentation load exceeds 29 mN, whose propagation is influenced by the loading conditions and the grain boundary effect.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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