Indentation of elastically soft and plastically compressible solids Academic Article uri icon


  • 2015, The Chinese Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics; Institute of Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. The effect of soft elasticity, i.e., a relatively small value of the ratio of Youngs modulus to yield strength and plastic compressibility on the indentation of isotropically hardening elasticviscoplastic solids is investigated. Calculations are carried out for indentation of a perfectly sticking rigid sharp indenter into a cylinder modeling indentation of a half space. The material is characterized by a finite strain elasticviscoplastic constitutive relation that allows for plastic as well as elastic compressibility. Both soft elasticity and plastic compressibility significantly reduce the ratio of nominal indentation hardness to yield strength. A linear relation is found between the nominal indentation hardness and the logarithm of the ratio of Youngs modulus to yield strength, but with a different coefficient than reported in previous studies. The nominal indentation hardness decreases rapidly for small deviations from plastic incompressibility and then decreases rather slowly for values of the plastic Poissons ratio less than 0.25. For both soft elasticity and plastic compressibility, the main reason for the lower values of indentation hardness is related to the reduction in the hydrostatic stress level in the material below the indenter.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Needleman, A., Tvergaard, V., & Van der Giessen, E.

citation count

  • 18

complete list of authors

  • Needleman, A||Tvergaard, V||Van der Giessen, E

publication date

  • August 2015