Bimodal nanoindentation response of the (001) face in crystalline sodium saccharin dihydrate
Keywords:Crystal engineering, microstructure, hydrate, saccharin, nanoindentation
The nanoindentation response of the (001) face of sodium saccharin dihydrate is examined. The structure can be demarcated into regular and irregular regions or domains. The regular domains have solid-like and the irregular ones have liquid-like characteristics. Therefore, these domains impart a microstructure to the crystal. The indent face (001) is prominently developed in this crystal and unambiguously presents the regular and irregular regions to nanoindention. Average values of elastic modulus and hardness show a distinct bimodal mechanical response. Such a response has been observed in the case of intergrown polymorphs of aspirin and felodipine. We examine two possible reasons as to why the responses could be for bimodal in this crystal. The first possibility could be that the two domains correspond to regions of the original dihydrate and a lower hydrate that is obtained by the loss of some water. The second possibility could be that these responses correspond to regular and irregular regions in the structure. Nanoindentation is a very useful technique in the characterization of molecular solids, as a complementary technique to X-ray crystallography, because it samples different length scales.
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