Assessment of elastic anisotropy and incipient plasticity in Fe3c by nanoindentation
The elastic anisotropy of cementite (Fe3C) is still under discussion. Recent theoretical (ab initio) calculations predict a very high elastic anisotropy for this iron carbide, and a few published experiments suggest that prediction could be true. This work presents a first attempt of using nanoindentation for assessing the elastic anisotropy of such an important component of steels. Our nanoindentation results show that the elastic anisotropy of Fe3C is high but smaller than predicted by ab initio calculations. The elastic modulus is obtained from the load-penetration curves before the first pop-in indicative of plasticity nucleation is detected. The tests thus provide information on the plastic anisotropy of cementite. Surprisingly, the mean indentation pressure or the maximum shear stress under the indenter at the onset of plasticity has been observed to be nearly independent of the crystalline orientation of the indented surface.