Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Alex A.Volinsky, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Craig Lusk, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nathan Crane, Ph.D.


thin films, mechanical properties, compliant MEMS, electrowetting


In this thesis, the mechanical characterization of thin films, bulk materials, compliant MEMS and Microfluidics has been discussed. In chapter1 and chapter 2, the Indentation Size Effect (ISE) has been studied for single crystal aluminum and the substrate effect has also been studied for 200 nm gold film on mica substrate and 50 nm gold film on (100) silicon wafer substrate. The mechanical characterization of super hard SiC films (prepared by CVD) has also been discussed.

In chapter 3, the actuation of compliant MEMS devices with a nanoindentation apparatus has been investigated. Friction forces become important at the device level, and the conical tip always makes a crack at the edge of the sliders, thus the slider design needs to be optimized to account for the probe geometry.

In chapter 4, the measurement of electrowetting has been outlined. The "airscratch" mode was used to capture the lateral force and normal force during an electrowetting test. With the appearance of surface delamination on the solid surface, the unexpected normal forces can been measured.