Limit analysis is applied to obtain upper and lower bounds for the punch pressure in the indentation of the plane surface of an elastic-perfectly plastic material by a flat rigid punch. The two-dimensional flat punch and the three-dimensional flat square and rectangular punch problems are considered. The analysis assumes Tresca’s yield criterion of constant maximum shearing stress k, during plastic deformation. It is shown that the pressure required to produce indentation in the two-dimensional problem lies between 5k and (2 + π)k. The lower bound obtained for any rectangular punch is again 5k while the upper bound for a smooth punch lies between 5.71k for a square and (2 + π)k for a very long rectangle. A value of 5.36k is found for a ratio of length to breadth of 3. The limit pressure for a uniformly loaded area, as distinguished from an area loaded by a punch, is bracketed by 5k and (2 + π)k when the area is convex.

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