Indentation creep tests to assess the viscoelastic properties of soft materials: Theory, method and experiment

Citation:

X. Zhang, Y. Zheng, G.-Y. Li, Y.-L. Liu, and Y. Cao. 2019. “Indentation creep tests to assess the viscoelastic properties of soft materials: Theory, method and experiment.” International Journal of Non-Linear Mechanics, 109.

Abstract:

Determining time-dependent mechanical properties of soft materials is essential in understanding their deformation behaviors under various stimuli. This paper investigates the use of indentation creep tests to measure the viscoelastic properties of soft materials at local areas. A simple scaling law between the reduced creep function and the creep displacement of the indenter is revealed in this paper based on a theoretical analysis. We show that the scaling relation can be used to interpret indentation creep tests of viscoelastic soft solids with arbitrary surface profile provided that the contact area does not change. Both numerical and practical experiments have been performed to validate the theory and the analytical solution. In our experiments, a low-cost portable indentation system is proposed to measure the reduced creep function. Our results show that the low-cost instrument and the analytical solution to interpret the experimental data reported here represent a useful testing method to deduce the intrinsic viscoelastic properties of soft materials in a non-destructive manner.