Size effect in the initiation of plasticity for ceramics in nanoscale contact loading

T.T. Zhu, X.D. Hou, C.J. Walker, K.M.Y. P'ng, D.J. Dunstan, A.J. Bushby

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding


In nanoindentation, the plasticity size effect has been observed for several years, where a higher hardness is measured as indenter size decreases. In this paper, we report the size effect on the initiation of plasticity in ceramics by using spherical indenters. Here, we show a clear method that is able to determine the details of the onset of plasticity in nanoindentation. This enables us to measure the yield pressure with a high degree of accuracy and over a large range of indenter radii (hundreds of nanometers to several tens of micrometers). Our data shows clearly that there is a significant yield strength enhancement, which is inversely proportional to the cube root of the indenter radius. Also after normalization by the bulk yield strength, the increase in yield strength with decreasing indenter radius is shown to follow a single relation for all the ceramics studied in agreement with recent results for metals [1], and consistent with critical thickness theory for the initiation of yielding over a finite volume.

Original languageUndefined
PublisherCurran Associates inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)978-1-60423-424-4
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventMaterials Research Society Symposium - Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Duration: 27 Nov 20061 Dec 2006


ConferenceMaterials Research Society Symposium
CountryUnited States
CityBoston, Massachusetts

Cite this

Zhu, T. T., Hou, X. D., Walker, C. J., P'ng, K. M. Y., Dunstan, D. J., & Bushby, A. J. (2006). Size effect in the initiation of plasticity for ceramics in nanoscale contact loading. In MATERIALS RESEARCH SOCIETY SYMPOSIUM PROCEEDINGS (Vol. 976, pp. 1-6). Curran Associates inc..