Atomistic simulations of nanoindentation of a 20-nm-thick Ni thin film oriented in the  direction were carried out to study the effects of indenter velocity and radii, interatomic potentials, and the boundary conditions used to represent the substrate. The simulation results were compared directly with experimental results of Ni thin film of the same thickness and orientation. It was found that the high indenter velocity does not affect the hardness value significantly. Different radii used for indentation also have negligible effects on the hardness value. Two different interatomic potentials were tested, giving significantly different hardness values but both within 20% of the experimental result. Different boundary conditions used to represent the substrate have a significant effect for relatively deep indentation simulations.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by National Science Foundation (NSF), Civil and Mechanical Systems, and Materials Theory. We also acknowledge Dr. Ronald Kriz for very valuable discussions. The simulations were performed using Virginia Tech’s supercomputing facility (System X).
Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.