Measurement of hardness and elastic modulus by instrumented indentation: Advances in understanding and refinements to methodology Academic Article uri icon


  • The method we introduced in 1992 for measuring hardness and elastic modulus by instrumented indentation techniques has widely been adopted and used in the characterization of small-scale mechanical behavior. Since its original development, the method has undergone numerous refinements and changes brought about by improvements to testing equipment and techniques as well as from advances in our understanding of the mechanics of elasticplastic contact. Here, we review our current understanding of the mechanics governing elasticplastic indentation as they pertain to load and depth-sensing indentation testing of monolithic materials and provide an update of how we now implement the method to make the most accurate mechanical property measurements. The limitations of the method are also discussed.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Materials Research

altmetric score

  • 25.18

author list (cited authors)

  • Oliver, W. C., & Pharr, G. M.

citation count

  • 5418

complete list of authors

  • Oliver, WC||Pharr, GM

publication date

  • January 2004