In recent years, due to extensive development of depth-sensing indentation techniques, nanoindentation has been used to evaluate the mechanical properties of surface layers and thin films of different materials. However, current nanoindentation procedures are based on simplified assumptions about the material behavior during unloading and empirical relations of the contact area (e.g., Oliver and Pharr, 1992) with little input from analytical and numerical solutions. Therefore, it is unclear what properties can be measured using instrumented nanoindentation techniques and what is the validity of the present procedures for measuring reduced elastic modulus and material hardness. Thus, the main objective of the present study was to analyze the validity of the current approaches for determining material properties and to propose an alternative approach for measuring the reduced elastic modulus, yield strength, and material hardness.

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