Directly Measuring the Complete Stress-Strain Response of Ultrathin Polymer Films

Yujie Liu, Yu Cheng Chen, Shelby Hutchens, Jimmy Lawrence, Todd Emrick, Alfred J. Crosby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The inherently fragile nature of ultrathin polymer films presents difficulties to the measurement of their mechanical properties, which are of interest in packaging, electronics, separations, and other manufacturing fields. More fundamentally, the direct measurement of ultrathin film mechanical properties is necessary for understanding changes in intrinsic material properties at reduced size scales, for example, when the film thickness alters the equilibrium configuration of the polymer chains. We introduce a method for ultrathin film tensile testing that stretches a two-dimensionally macroscopic, yet nanoscopically thin, polymer film on the surface of water. For polystyrene films, we observe a precipitous decrease in mechanical properties (Youngs modulus, strain at failure, and nominal stress at failure) for film thicknesses down to 15 nm, less than the characteristic size of an individual polymer chain, yielding new insights into the changes in polymer chain entanglements in confined states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6534-6540
Number of pages7
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 22 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Directly Measuring the Complete Stress-Strain Response of Ultrathin Polymer Films'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this