The effect of sample tilt in spherical indentation is studied by recourse to three-dimensional finite element simulation of the loading process. An elastic solid subjected to a rigid spherical indenter is considered under either frictionless or infinitely frictional contact condition. It is found the contact boundary is not parallel with the tilted surface, and the tilt angle of the contact boundary is smaller than the sample tilt angle. The side force is prominent for frictionless contact, and the ratio of side force to normal force increases with the sample tilt angle because of a larger unbalanced displacement field. Nevertheless, the ratio of side force to normal force is relatively small for infinitely frictional contact because the displacement distribution is controlled by the nonslip condition and almost balanced irrespective of sample tilt.
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