Determination of Young's modulus by nanoindentation

Dejun Ma, Wo Ong Chung, Jianmin Liu, Jiawen He

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


A methodology for determining Young's modulus of materials by non-ideally sharp indentation has been developed. According to the principle of the same area-to-depth ratio, a non-ideally pyramidal indenter like a Berkovich one can be approximated by a non-ideally conical indenter with a spherical cap at the tip. By applying dimensional and finite element analysis to the non-ideally conical indentation, a set of approximate one-to-one relationships between the ratio of nominal hardness/reduced Young's modulus and the ratio of elastic work/total work, which correspond to different tip bluntness, have been revealed. The nominal hardness is defined as the maximum indentation load divided by the cross-section area of the conical indenter specified at the maximum indentation depth. As a consequence, Young's modulus can be determined from a nanoindentation test only using the maximum indentation load and depth, and the work done during loading and unloading processes. The new method for determining Young's modulus is referred to as "pure energy method". The validity of the method was examined by performing indentation tests on five materials. The experimental results and the standard reference values are in good agreement, indicating that the proposed pure energy method is a promising substitution for the most widely used analysis models at present.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-408
Number of pages11
JournalScience in China, Series E: Technological Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2004


  • Indentation work
  • Nanoindentation
  • Nominal hardness
  • Young's modulus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • General Materials Science


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