Nanoindentation of hydrated materials and tissues
Nanoindentation techniques have recently been adapted for the study of hydrated materials, including biological materials and hydrogels. There are unique challenges associated with handling and testing hydrated samples. For hydrated materials, a poroelastic or poroviscoelastic analysis, which explicitly treats the fluid flow through the porous material, is used to extract material properties from experimental data. Some key results from recent works using nanoindentation to evaluate hydrated materials are reviewed in the context of these challenges. Finally, as these studies represent relatively recent developments in the nanoindentation field, an outlook for the future is presented, in which it is clear that a consensus is emerging for quantitative evaluation of hydrated materials via a modified nanoindentation approach.