Indentation induced lateral crack in ceramics with surface hardening

Akio YONEZU*, Baoxing XU, Xi CHEN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Indentation is widely used to probe the fracture toughness of brittle materials such as ceramics or glass. In use, a hardened surface layer is inevitable in ceramics due to grinding and polishing; the surface layer also exists during sample preparation for indentation test. We study the mechanics of indentation induced lateral cracking in TiB2 (titanium di-boride) ceramics, and show that the surface hardened layer has a pronounced effect on the initiation position of lateral crack, thereby affecting the wear resistance rate. The occurrence of lateral crack underneath the surface is detected in situ by an integrated acoustic emission (AE) and corrosion potential fluctuation (CPF) technique. By computing the detailed stress distribution, we discuss the mechanics of lateral crack formation in ceramics under the influence of surface hardening. It is found that when the maximum contact force is low, the lateral crack is confined within the surface layer, whereas when the maximum indentation force is high, the crack prefers to nucleate at the interface. The findings in this paper may be useful to optimize the surface polishing process and improve wear properties of ceramics. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-235
Number of pages10
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering: A
Issue number1-2
Early online date7 Dec 2008
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

The work of A.Y. is supported in part of Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientist of (B) (No. 19760075) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan, Grant of General Research for Electricity & Energy of TEPCO Research Foundation, and Research Grant (AF-2008036) of AMADA Foundation for Metal Work Technology. The work of X.C. is supported in part by National Science Foundation CMMI-0407743 and CMMI-CAREER-0643726.


  • Ceramics
  • Surface hardening
  • Vickers indentation


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