A gel, an aggregate of polymers with solvents, has dual attributes of solid and liquid as solvent migrates in and out of the polymer network. Indentation has recently been used to characterize the mechanical properties of gels. This paper evaluates the effects of large deformation and material nonlinearity on gel indentation through theoretical modeling and finite element analysis. It is found that large deformation significantly affects the interpretation of the experimental observations and the classical relation between indentation force and depth has limitations for large deformation. The material nonlinearity does not play a very important role on indentation experiment so that the poroelasticity is a good approximation. Based on these observations, this paper proposes an alternative approach to measure the mechanical properties of gels, namely, uniaxial compression experiment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1058-1067
Number of pages10
JournalActa Mechanica Sinica/Lixue Xuebao
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Finite element simulation
  • Gel indentation
  • Large deformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of large deformation and material nonlinearity on gel indentation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this