Fracture size effect in ultrananocrystalline diamond: Applicability of Weibull theory

B. Peng, C. Li, N. Moldovan, H. D. Espinosa*, X. Xiao, O. Auciello, J. A. Carlisle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


An analysis of size effects and doping on the strength of ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD) thin films is presented. The doping was achieved by the addition of nitrogen gas to the Ar/CH4 microwave plasma. The strength data, obtained by means of the membrane deflection experiment (MDE) were interpreted using Weibull statistics. The validity and predictive capability of the theory were examined in conjunction with detailed fractographic and transmission electron microscopy microstructural analysis. The Weibull parameters were estimated nonlinear regression based on 480 tests when the specimen volume varied from 500 to 16,000 μm3. Both undoped and doped UNCD films exhibited a decrease in strength with an increase in specimen size. A significant drop in strength was measured when the films were doped with nitrogen. Such a drop was almost independent of the percentage of doping. The results also showed that one can predict the fracture strength of a component possessing any arbitrary volume to within ±3%. Moreover, the failure mode of UNCD was found to be volume controlled. We also report changes in Young's modulus as a function of doping for n-doped UNCD thin films.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)913-925
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Materials Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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