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Effect of dehydration on the mechanical properties of sodium saccharin dihydrate probed with nanoindentation

Royal Society of Chemistry
Publication Date
  • Solid State & Structural Chemistry Unit
  • Materials Engineering (Formerly Metallurgy)


Nanoindentation is used to explore the variation of mechanical properties associated with the dehydration process in sodium saccharin dihydrate. Upon indenting using a Berkovich tip, (011) and (101) faces exhibit explicit mechanical anisotropy that is consistent with the underlying crystal structure and intermolecular interactions. For freshly grown crystals, (011) is stiffer than (101) by 14%, while (101) is harder than (011) by 8%. Being a heavily hydrated system, the measured mechanical responses contain information pertinent to the fluidity associated with lattice water. Indentation on (011) with a sharp cube-corner tip induces a fluid flow; this observation is uncommon in molecular crystals. The crystals effloresce over a period of time with the generation of a more compact crystal structure and consequently increasing H and E.

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