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Application Note

Correlated Mechanical Microscopy of Compositional Gradients (with EDX)

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Compositional gradients are both a useful tool for combinatorial investigations and an industrial reality in high temperature materials where diffusion can occur at service temperatures.

In this application note, a simple approach for performing correlative mechanical microscopy using nanoindentation mapping and energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDX) is outlined and demonstrated. Using displacement-controlled indentations allowed consistent sampling from both mechanical and EDX sampled volumes. This produces paired datasets of mechanical properties and composition. This allows easy data segmentation without requiring complicated statistical deconvolution methods. Here, this is applied in a combinatorial investigation of the Ni—Ta system. Without this correlative method, phase deconvolution would have been challenging due to several phases possessing adjacent compositions and mechanical properties. This demonstrates the potential of this correlative approach for compositional gradient samples, particularly those involving complex microstructures and/or compositional variations.

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