Indentation of polydimethylsiloxane submerged in organic solvents

Yuhang Hu, Xin Chen, George M. Whitesides, Joost J. Vlassak, Zhigang Suo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work uses a method based on indentation to characterize a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastomer submerged in an organic solvent (decane, heptane, pentane, or cyclohexane). An indenter is pressed into a disk of a swollen elastomer to a fixed depth, and the force on the indenter is recorded as a function of time. By examining how the relaxation time scales with the radius of contact, one can differentiate the poroelastic behavior from the viscoelastic behavior. By matching the relaxation curve measured experimentally to that derived from the theory of poroelasticity, one can identify elastic constants and permeability. The measured elastic constants are interpreted within the Flory-Huggins theory. The measured permeability indicates that the solvent migrates in PDMS by diffusion, rather than by convection. This work confirms that indentation is a reliable and convenient method to characterize swollen elastomers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-795
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Materials Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 28 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Diffusion
  • Elastic properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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