Pile-up or sink-in is always a concern in a nanoindentation test because it gives rise to errors in the estimation of the projected contact area when it is theoretically analyzed with the classic Oliver–Pharr method. In this study, a three-dimensional finite element model is developed to simulate nanoindentation with a perfect Berkovich tip. The variation of the contact profile with respect to the work-hardening rate n and the ratio of yield stress to elastic modulus σy/E has been studied for a wide range of elastoplastic materials. The numerical results show that a low σy/E not only facilitates the pile-up for materials with little or no work-hardening but also enhances the sink-in for materials with a high work-hardening rate. It is attributed to the lateral-flow dominated plastic deformation in low work-hardening materials and the normal-flow dominated plastic deformation in high work-hardening materials, respectively. Because of the large sink-in, for the materials with high n and low σy/E, significant errors in the calculation of the projected contact area can be generated by using the classic Oliver–Pharr method.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.