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Hardness Testing

Hardness measures the resistance of metals to plastic deformation by indentation. The table below lists the various hardness test, the indentor type, and the method of measurement.

Carbon steels and low Alloy steels show a good correlation between hardness and ultimate tensile strength. Hardness is a good indication of consistency and when correlated with the composition and heat treatment of cast ferrous and nonferrous Alloys it is a handy measure of the control and acceptability of castings. The low cost and simplicity of hardness tests leads to their use for a number of quality control applications.

ASTM test methods are ASTM E 10 for Brinell hardness, ASTM E 18 for Rockwell hardness testing and ASTM E 384 for Microindentional testing.

Test Indentor Measurement
Brinell hardness 10 mm tungsten carbide ball Indentation diameter
ASTM E 10 Rockwell Hardness 1/16” or 1/8” steel ball Penetration depth
Diamond pyramid conical brale diamond indentor Ave. indentation diagonals
Vickers Hardness diamond pyramid Ave. indentation diagonals
Knoop Hardness elongated diamond pyramid Ave. indentation diagonals