Spherical indentation problems of ceramic coatings/metallic inter-layer/ductile substrate were investigated numerically by axisymmetric finite element analysis (FEA) for two typical ceramic coatings with relatively high and low elastic modulus deposited on aluminum alloy and carbon steel. Various indenter radius-coating thickness ratios and interlayer thickness-coating thickness ratios were used in the modeling. Radial stress distribution and plastic damage zones evolution were discussed in connection with model parameters. The results showed that the suitable metallic interlayer could improve resistance of ceramic coating systems through reducing the peak tensile radial stress on the surface and interface of ceramic coatings and plastic damage zone size in the substrate under spherical indentation.

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