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This review surveys the phenomenon of plastic instabilities occurring in depth-sensing indentation measurements. Investigations presented focus on the characterization of Portevin-Le Châtelier type instabilities observed in different metal alloys during indentation. The effect of some important factors such as solute concentration, the formation of Guinier-Preston zones, and grain size and orientation are described and discussed. The phenomenon of plastic instabilities as serrated flow recentlydoi:10.1557/jmr.2004.0004 fatcat:zy5fglgnxvccfgqner7ysdwml4