A discrete dislocation plasticity analysis of plane-strain indentation of a single-crystal half-space by a smooth or rough (fractal) rigid asperity is presented. The emission, movement, and annihilation of edge dislocations are incorporated in the analysis through a set of constitutive rules [1,2]. It is shown that the initiation of the first dislocation is controlled by the subsurface Hertzian stress field and occurs in the ±45° direction with respect to the normal of the crystal surface, in agreement with the macroscopic yielding behavior of the indented halfspace. For fixed slip-plane direction, the dislocation density increases with the applied normal load and dislocation source density. The dislocation multiplication behavior at a given load is compared with that generated by a rough indenter with a fractal surface profile. The results of the analysis provide insight into yielding and plastic deformation phenomena in indented single-crystal materials.

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