Spherical indentation problems of ceramic coatings/metallic inter-layer/ductile substrate were investigated numerically by axisymmetric FEA for two typical ceramic coatings with relatively high and low elastic modulus deposited on aluminum alloy and carbon steel. The fracture mechanics of the ceramic coatings due to occurrence of surface ring cracks extending traverse coating thickness under spherical indenter were considered under the framework of linear fracture mechanics. The J-integral associated to such cracks was computed. The evolution of J-integral versus crack length and indentation depth was studied. The results show that metallic inter-layers can improve the fracture resistance of the ceramic layer under the same indentation conditions.

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