International Journal of Mechanics and Materials in Design

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 391-398

First online:

Analysis of indentation-derived effective elastic modulus of metal-ceramic multilayers

  • G. TangAffiliated withDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, University of New Mexico
  • , Y. -L. ShenAffiliated withDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, University of New Mexico Email author 
  • , D. R. P. SinghAffiliated withSchool of Materials, Arizona State University
  • , N. ChawlaAffiliated withSchool of Materials, Arizona State University

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


A numerical study was undertaken to study the elastic property of metal-ceramic multilayered composites derived from indentation testing. The model system features alternating thin films of aluminum (Al) and silicon carbide (SiC), free from any effect due to the underlying substrate. The anisotropic composite elastic response was obtained by simulating overall loading of the multilayer structure. Finite element modeling of instrumented indentation was then employed to calculate the indentation-derived modulus using the unloading portion of the load–displacement curve. The results from indenting the homogenized composite (with the built-in multilayer property) and from indenting the real multilayers (with Al and SiC layers explicitly accounted for) were compared. It was found that an indentation depth beyond approximately 8–10 initial layer thicknesses is sufficient to yield a valid composite elastic response. The effective modulus thus obtained is representative of the out-of-plane modulus of the multilayer composite.


Indentation Finite element analysis Elastic modulus Multilayer composite