Indenter tip radius effect on the Nix-Gao relation in micro- and nanoindentation hardness experiments

S. Qu, Y. Huang*, W. D. Nix, H. Jiang, F. Zhang, K. C. Hwang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Scopus citations


Nix and Gao established an important relation between microindentation hardness and indentation depth. Such a relation has been verified by many microindentation experiments (indentation depths in the micrometer range , but it does not always hold in nanoindentation experiments (indentation depths approaching the nanometer range). We have developed a unified computational model for both micro- and nanoindentation in an effort to understand the breakdown of the Nix-Gao relation at indentation depths approaching the nanometer scale. The unified computational model for indentation accounts for various indenter shapes, including a sharp, conical indenter, a spherical indenter, and a conical indenter with a spherical tip. It is based on the conventional theory of mechanism-based strain gradient plasticity established from the Taylor dislocation model to account for the effect of geometrically necessary dislocations. The unified computational model for indentation indeed shows that the Nix-Gao relation holds in microindentation with a sharp indenter, bur it does not hold in nanoindentation due to the indenter tip radius effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3423-3434
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Materials Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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