Contact mechanics of highly porous oxide nanoparticle agglomerates

Andrea Fabre, Samir Salameh, Lucio Colombi Ciacchi, Michiel Kreutzer, Ruud van Ommen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Efficient nanopowder processing requires knowledge of the powder’s mechanical properties. Due to the large surface area to volume ratio, nanoparticles experience relatively strong attractive interactions, leading to the formation of micron-size porous structures called agglomerates. Significant effort has been directed towards the development of models and experimental procedures to estimate the elasticity of porous objects such as nanoparticle agglomerates; however, none of the existing models has been validated for solid fractions below 0.1. Here, we measure the elasticity of titania (TiO2, 22 nm), alumina (Al2O3, 8 nm), and silica (SiO2, 16 nm) nanopowder agglomerates by Atomic Force Microscopy, using a 3.75 μm glass colloid for the stress–strain experiments. Three sample preparations with varying degree of powder manipulation are assessed. The measured Young’s moduli are in the same order of magnitude as those predicted by the model of Kendall et al., thus validating it for the estimation of the Young’s modulus of structures with porosity above 90 %.
Original languageEnglish
Article number200
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research: an interdisciplinary forum for nanoscale science and technology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Young’s modulus
  • Porous agglomerates
  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Oxide particles
  • Nanoparticles
  • Particle characterization
  • Instrumentation

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