Table of Contents
ISRN Nanotechnology
Volume 2011, Article ID 719512, 13 pages
Research Article

Nanoscale Deformation and Nanomechanical Properties of Soft Matter Study Cases: Polydimethylsiloxane, Cells and Tissues

School of Chemical Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, 9 Heroon, Polytechniou st., Zografos, 157 80 Athens, Greece

Received 10 April 2011; Accepted 5 May 2011

Academic Editors: J. B. Edel and Y. Song

Copyright © 2011 Costas Charitidis. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Nanoindentation technique was used to investigate the nanomechanical behaviour of different soft materials. Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), cells and tissues were examined. The nanomechanical properties (with loading rate and creep study), namely, the hardness ( ๐ป ) and the elastic modulus ( ๐ธ ) of PDMS, were determined. A classical Hertzian contact analysis was also performed in order to obtain values of ๐ธ . Moreover, the plastic deformation where no load had yet been applied to PDMS was investigated (zero load plastic deformation). Finally, the difficulties of measuring the nanomechanical properties ( ๐ป & ๐ธ ) of cells and tissues were evaluated, showing the need for a modification of the current experimental protocols for preparing and mechanically testing in a mode that maintains their structure and their biological functioning in order to make indentation results more reproducible. Additionally, finite element method is used in order to simulate the nanoindentation of PDMS in correlation with experimental data.