Instrumented indentation is commonly used for determining mechanical properties of a range of materials, including viscoelastic materials. However, most—if not all—studies are limited to a flat substrate being indented by various shaped indenters (e.g., conical or spherical). This work investigates the possibility of extending instrumented indentation to nonflat viscoelastic substrates. In particular, conical indentation of a sphere is investigated where a semi-analytical approach based on “the method of functional equations” has been developed to obtain the force–displacement relationship. To verify the accuracy of the proposed methodology selected numerical experiments have been performed and good agreement was obtained. Since it takes significantly less time to obtain force–displacement relationships using the proposed method compared to conducting full finite element simulations, the proposed method is an efficient substitute of the finite element method in determining material properties of viscoelatic spherical particles using indentation testing.

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