The Basics of Hardness Testing

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Hardness testing is one of the most valuable and widely used methods to quantify material characteristics. During hardness testing an indenter is pressed into the surface of a specimen using a specific load capacity and time interval. A measurement is then made of the size (depth and or width) of the indentation.

Hardness testing is used to determine the viability of a specimen used in a given application. While hardness testing rivals tensile testing; hardness testing is preferred due to its ease and nondestructive tendencies.

Hardness testing can be broken down into two main categories: microhardness and macrohardness. Microhardness refers to applied loads of 1kg and below with a very thin material being tested. Typical applications include specimens of plated surfaces, small parts, etc.  Macrohardness refers to applied loads of more than 1kg and is typically used for the testing of tools, dies and sheet materials.

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