Theoretical study on nanoindentation hardness measurement of a particle embedded in a matrix

Teck Fei Low, Chung Lun Jerome Pun, Wenyi Yan

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6 Citations (Scopus)


The finite element method was used to simulate indentation tests on a particle embedded in a matrix, to investigate the influence of the properties of the particle and the matrix, and the indentation depth on the measured hardness. The particles work-hardening exponent and the mismatch in particle and matrix yield strength have a significant influence on the measured hardness. A particle-dominated indentation depth was identified, within which the measured nanoindentation hardness agrees very well with the true hardness of the particle material. Numerical results from the simulations of a wide range of material properties determined that the measured hardness is within 5% difference of the particles true hardness when the indentation depth is less than 13.5 of the particles radius. The results can be used in practice as a guideline to measure the hardness of a particle embedded in a matrix and provides the theoretical basis to develop a particle-embedded method to measure the hardness of individual particles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1573 - 1586
Number of pages14
JournalPhilosophical Magazine
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2015


  • Indentation
  • Hardness
  • Particle reinforced composite
  • Particle-dominated depth
  • Dimensional analysis
  • Finite element analysis

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