Mechanical properties of high quality tetragonal hen egg-white lysozyme single crystals which are one type of protein crystal were investigated by the indentation method. The indentation marks were clearly observed on the crystal surface and no elastic recovery of them occurred. The value of the micro-Vickers hardness in the wet condition was estimated to be about 20 MPa at room temperature. The hardness greatly depended on the amount of intracrystalline water (mobile water) contained in the crystals. The hardness increased with increasing evaporation time to air at room temperature. It reached the maximum at about 260 MPa, which is 13 times as much as that in the wet condition. The origin of such a change in hardness was explained in terms of the dislocation mechanisms in lysozyme single crystals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films