Depth-sensing or instrumented indentation is an experimental characterization approach well-suited for high-throughput investigation of mechanical properties of polymeric materials. This is due to both the precision of force and displacement, and to the small material volumes required for quantitative analysis. Recently, considerable progress in the throughput (number of distinct material samples analyzed per unit time) of indentation experiments has been achieved, particularly for studies of elastic properties. Future challenges include improving the agreement between various macroscopic properties (elastic modulus, creep compliance, loss tangent, onset of nonlinear elasticity, energy dissipation, etc.) and their counterpart properties obtained by indentation. Sample preparation constitutes a major factor for both the accuracy of the results and the speed and efficiency of experimental throughput. It is important to appreciate how this processing step may influence the mechanical properties, in particular the onset of nonlinear elastic or plastic deformation, and how the processing may affect the agreement between the indentation results and their macroscopic analogues.
Kranenburg, J. M., Tweedie, C. A., Vliet, van, K. J., & Schubert, U. S. (2009). Challenges and progress in high-throughput screening of polymer mechanical properties by indentation. Advanced Materials, 21(35), 3551-3561. https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.200803538