Determination of plastic properties of metals by instrumented indentation using different sharp indenters

J. L. Bucaille, S. Stauss, E. Felder, J. Michler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

506 Citations (Scopus)


Indentation testing is a common method to assess the mechanical properties of materials near their surface. The elasto-plastic properties may be determined from the force penetration curves measured in indentation using inverse methods. In this spirit, Dao et al. [1] (Acta Materialia, 49, 2001) have established a forward and a reverse analysis for engineering metals using the equivalent conical indenter of the Berkovich and the Vickers pyramids, which has an included angle θ of 70.3°. Extending Dao's approach, we studied, based on a finite element analysis on elasto-plastic materials, the influence of the included angle of conical indenters (θ=70.3, 60, 50 and 42.3°) and the friction coefficient on the force penetration curves. Based on this analysis, we suggest a more general method for determining the plastic properties of metals. The mechanical behaviour is modeled with the Young's modulus, E, the yield strength, σy, and the strain hardening exponent, n. We have shown that friction has a significant effect on the normal force measured on tips having included angles lower or equal to 50°. We have constructed, for each indenter geometry, a dimensionless function relating the characteristic parameters of the loading curve in indentation to the elasto-plastic parameters of metals. These functions have been generalized for any included angle. We show that the use of a second indenter with an included angle lower than θ=70.3° allows us to determine the strain hardening exponent with greater accuracy. Moreover, the sharper the indenter, the better the accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1663-1678
Number of pages16
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Apr 2
Externally publishedYes


  • Indentation
  • Inverse analysis
  • Metals
  • Strain hardening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


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