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This study was designed to predict work hardening exponent n of materials from AFM (atomic force microscope) observations of residual indentation impression in sharp indentations. FE simulations of nano-indentation were performed to 140 combinations to each parameter (elastic modulus E, yield stress σ y , work hardening exponent n, and Poisson's ratio ν ) expressing elastic-plastic behaviors of universal engineering metals. Using the results from FE simulations and dimensional analysis, dimensionless functions were established to correlate residual indentation profiles with the work hardening exponent. This function was examined with nano-indentation,tensile test, and AFM observations after indentation for two materials (Al6061-T6 and copper).