Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Autar K. Kaw, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Daniel Hess, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ashok Kumar, Ph.D.


thin film, substrate, mechanical properties, shear stress, indenter


Indentation is used as a technique for mechanical characterization of materials for a long time. In the last few decades, new techniques of mechanical characterization at micro and nano level using indentation have been developed. Mechanical character-ization of thin films has become an important area of research because of their crucial role in modern technological applications. Theoretical and computational models of indentation are less time consuming,cost effective, and flexible. Many researchers have investigated mechanical properties of thin films using theoretical and computational models. In this study, an indentation model for a thin layer-substrate geometry with the possibility of nonhomogeneous or homogeneous interface of finite thickness between layer and substrate has been developed. The layer and substrate can be nonhomogeneous or homogeneous. Three types of indenters are modeled: 1) Uniform pressure indenter 2) Flat indenter 3) Smooth indenter. Contact depth, maximum interfacial normal stress and maximum interfacial shear stress play an important role in design and mechanical characterization of thin films using indentation and the effect of modeling the interface as homogeneous and nonhomogeneous on these parameters is studied. A sensitivity analysis is also conducted to find the effect of indentation area, substrate to layer Young's modulus ratio, layer to interface thickness ratio on contact depth and critical interfacial stresses.