Relationships between acoustic emission signals and physical phenomena during indentation

D. F. Bahr, W. W. Gerberich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


A commercial piezoelectric acoustic emission transducer has been used in conjunction with nanoindentation techniques to study the relationship between acoustic emission signals and discrete physical events to identify the type and strength of an event. Indentations into tungsten and iron single crystals have been used to study dislocation generation and passive film failure. In addition, indentations made into a thin nitride film on sapphire have been used to cause film delaminations. Parameters such as signal rise time and frequency for a piezoelectric sensor are related to sample geometry, and not to the type of event which caused the acoustic emission signal. As a possible calibration for acoustic emission sensors, the most meaningful parameter is the acoustic emission energy, which has been shown to scale with the elastic energy released during the event. The measured values of elastic energy released correspond very closely to those calculated using Hertzian contact mechanics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1065-1074
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to gratefully acknowledge support through the Office of Naval Research MURI, Grant No. N-N00014-95-10539. In addition, the authors wish to thank D. E. Kramer and J. C. Nelson for assistance with sample preparation and nanoindentation, and M. D. Kriese for helpful discussions.


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