Saxonian Institute of Surface Mechanics

Indentation- and Scratch-Analyzer Product Series

ISA - Indentation- and Scratch-Analyzer

The Indentation & Scratch Analyzer (ISA) is a combination of the O&PfC® and SSA®. Thus, the ISA enables you to use the capabilities of both modules synergistically and, therefore, to physically analyze nearly all mechanical contact tests and surface measurements, respectively.

ISA components

The ISA® (Indentation & Scratch Analyzer) additionally contains the modules OptiWear and CritLoad, which complete the functionality of ISA®. OptiWear allows you to predict the wear track of wear tests. CritLoad evaluates the critical loads of almost any load combinations for a given coating structure.

Physical characterization of arbitrary structured surface by means of instrumented indentation and scratch testing
Application-oriented design or optimization of surface structures by means of mechanical surface testing, which require proper dimensioning and physical analysis. ISA® allows you to analyze all these measurements.


The features covered below are features of the model on which this product series is based. Therefore, they may differ from the capabilities of the individual editions as they are not all completely implemented in all editions.

Supported Material Structures

This software series[?] allows you to analyze among others the following surface structures by evaluation of mechanical contact measurements:

  • multi-layer coatings (up to 100 layers)
  • thin films (theoretically down to 1 angstroem*)
  • thick films (theoretically unlimited*)
  • with intrinsic/thermal stresses and gradients of it (functional)
  • laminate structures
  • composites
  • nano-particle-enhanced coatings (nanotubes, fullerenes, ...)
  • inclusions and defects not only within layers but also at interfaces
  • superlattice
  • homogeneous monolithic bulk materials (e.g. substrate only)

* Practically it depends on capabilities (e.g. the resolution and noise floor) of your measurement instrument.

Measurement Conditions

Among others, the following measurement conditions and measurement effects can be taken into account for the evaluation of mechanical surface measurements by this measurement analysis software series[?]:

  • multi-axial loads (normal, lateral, and rotating loads)
  • tilting and deflection of the indenter
  • actual indenter shape, hence also edges and asymmetry of indenter tips (e.g. required for Berkowich and Vickers tips)
  • surface roughess, actual three-dimensional surface topography and surface curvature (e.g. from 3D pre-scan by AFM), respectively
  • creep / sink-in: time-dependent material properties of viscous or visco-elastic materials (e.g. polymers)
  • pile-up / residual stresses of ductile materials, plastic deformation, fractures/cracks of brittle materials[?]
  • friction between surface and indenter
  • temperature gradients / fields (e.g. necessary for high temperature measurements or tribology tests)
  • weak interfaces / poor interface adhesion

Evaluable Contact Measurements

This software[?] enables you to analyze the following mechanical surface measurements:

  • instrumented nano, micro, and macro indentation measurements and hardness tests, respectively
  • multi-axial indentation measurements (with additional lateral or rotating loads)
  • cyclic, dynamic, and multi-load indentations (e.g. CSM method of Agilent, QCSM method of ASMEC, ESP of Fischer)
  • impact tests and drop tests
  • scratch tests, adhesion tests, and scratch resistance tests
  • tribology tests like wear tests and friction tests (pin-on-disc, ball-on-disc and so on)
  • each also in high temperature range
  • and many more

Mechanical Characterization

The most important aim of mechanical characterization is the evaluation of generic material properties, which are independent of measurement conditions (like material structure of the sample, maximum indentation depth, initial and final load, velocity etc.). Hence, it is necessary to take all these measurement conditions into account to evaluate such measurement properly. That is why we have extended the classic Oliver&Pharr method for such conditions. This Oliver&Pharr method extended for layered materials (Oliver&Pharr for Coatings) enables you to calculate - among others - the following generic material properties[?]:

  • real Young's modulus of each layer or the substrate (elastic modulus)
  • yield strength of each layer or the substrate
  • Poisson's ratio of each layer or the substrate
  • intrinsic, thermal, or residual stresses of each layer or the substrate
  • tensile strength
  • adhesive strength
  • critical stresses of all fracture modes (mode I crack, mode II crack, and mode III crack)
  • layer thicknesses

Only these generic physical material properties can be reused in nearly any other surface structure (e.g. for surface optimization by means of modeling and simulation or for analysis of complex contact measurements like scratch tests) without being obliged to repeat the characterization.

This software allows you to determine the correct hardness, too. But be aware: Hardness is neither a physical nor a generic material property!

Information Material

Connection to Measurement Equipment

The following measurement equipment manufacturers already provide a direct export interface to our software, which convert measurement data directly into our format:

  • Helmut Fischer GmbH (O&PfC format only)
  • ASMEC GmbH - member of Zwick/Roell
  • MicroMaterials Ltd. (O&PfC format only)
  • Anton Paar (formerly CSM Instruments)
  • Fischer-Cripps Laboratories Pty Ltd. (O&PfC format only)

Further manufacturers are still developing and will follow soon.

Available in our Online Shop

ISA® Analysis Software for Instrumented Indentation and Scratch Test (2 products)
ISA Light v0.2 (download)
  • 1 layer
  • taking 2D pre-scans into account
  • taking 2D post-scans into account
  • true coating properties:
    • elastic modulus (EC)
    • hardness (HC)
    • yield strength (YC)
    • critical tensile stress (σTS)
    • critical shear stresses (τ)
add to shopping cart
5,400.00 €
  • 5 layers
  • weakened interface
  • taking 2D or 3D pre-scans into account
  • taking 2D or 3D post-scans into account
  • incl. CritLoad
  • incl. OptiWear
  • true coating properties:
    • elastic modulus (EC)
    • hardness (HC)
    • yield strength (YC)
    • critical tensile stress (σTS)
    • critical shear stresses (τ)
add to shopping cart
18,000.00 €

System Requirements

Minimum* Optimum
operating system: Microsoft Windows XP SP3
Microsoft Windows Vista
Microsoft Windows 8
Microsoft Windows 7
word size: 32 or 64 bit 32 or 64 bit
CPU: 2 cores
1 GHz
≥ 4 cores × 2 threads
≥ 2 GHz
RAM: 512 MB ≥ 4 GB
free HDD space: 24 MB (in system partition)
500 MB (for project files)
24 MB (in system partition)
≥ 3 GB (for project files)
screen: 1024 x 768 pixel
16 bit color depth
1920 x 1080 pixel
32 bit color depth
anti-virus software: Read information!
access rights for installation: administrator rights
access rights for use: user rights administrator rights
* If your computer meets only the minimum system requirements, the operation comfort (usability) and operating speed might be restricted.

Please ask us for more information!

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