Generation, Characterization and Control of Nanoscale Surface Roughness
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Surface roughness exists at many length scales-from atomic dimensions to meters. At sub-micron scale, the distribution of roughness is largely dependent on the process that generates the surface through the mechanisms of material removal/addition involved and the process parameters. The focus of the research is to quantitatively characterize the evolution of sub-micron scale surface roughness in the mechanical, chemical and electrochemical material removal techniques and study the inﬂuence of roughness on the mechanical behavior of surfaces. High purity aluminum surfaces are subjected to surface dissolution techniques such as electropolishing, chemical etching and anodization. Owing to the lack of suﬃcient lateral resolution in conventional roughness measurement techniques and appropriate scale independent roughness characterization techniques, the effect sub-micron scale electrochemical inhomogeneities present on the surfaces have on the roughness evolution at various length scales has not been understood. In this work, the power spectral density method of roughness characterization is used to quantitatively evaluate the roughness length scales aﬀected in the surface generation processes as a function of time. Results indicate that in the case of electropolishing, roughness is not uniformly reduced at all length scales. Further, cut-oﬀ frequencies are suggested to optimize the electropolishing process. In chemical etching, the nature of roughness produced is found to be dependent on the nature of the starting surface. The nature of surface and sub-surface structures produced in the initial stage of the anodization process, and the transition from a disordered to an ordered structure are studied. In order to study the mechanical behavior of surfaces as a function of surface roughness, a single asperity indentation is modeled using nanoindentation of micropillar produced by focused ion beam machining of aluminum surfaces. Load-displacement curves are constructed to show the transition from a single asperity deformation to bulk deformation as function of indentation depth. Additionally, indentation responses of polymer coated surfaces with varying degree of roughness that were produced by the aforementioned surface generation processes are studied. it is shown how high interface roughness gives rise to high scatter both in loading and unloading portions of the load-displacement curves. Finally, porous alumina surface generated by the anodization process discussed above is indented to simulate a multi-asperity interaction.
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