What Is The Surface Area Formula Of A Pyramid The Different Scales of Hardness Testing

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The Different Scales of Hardness Testing

Hardness testing systems provide a fast and economical method to test mechanical properties; All materials can be tested for hardness provided the correct testing method is adopted. Hardness testing provides valuable information for research and manufacturing applications where material properties are an important consideration.

The hardness test measures a material’s resistance to indentation and is a good reference for properties such as resistance to abrasion. Typical applications are for automotive heat treatment work, aerospace protective and hard coating applications, and weld control in advanced fabrications. In this article, we aim to look at the five main types of hardness tests, their history and a brief description of their industrial applications.

Brinell

The Brinell hardness test method was the first method invented to standardize hardness, from which other hardness measurement methods have since been derived. It was first introduced in Sweden in 1900 by Dr. A steel or carbide ball with a diameter of 1 mm to 10 mm is used, depending on the hardness test requirements invented by JA Brinell. The ball is loaded up to 3000 Kg to create an impression or indentation on the surface, the size of the indentation is measured and converted into a hardness value.

The Brinell test is valuable in foundry applications where testing of inhomogeneous materials is required, such as large cast iron castings. The advantage of the large ball is that component hardness is measured across a range of microstructural features, resulting in consistent hardness values. While the Brinell test is considered less versatile than Vickers or Rockwell, it is more effective in testing materials such as forgings and castings.

Vickers

The Vickers hardness test was first developed by Smith and Sandland in 1924 at Vickers Ltd as an alternative to the Brinnell test, which was considered highly inaccurate and limited in application. The resulting Vickers test retained the same process as Brinell but were able to offer a more consistent and versatile hardness test by using a pyramid-shaped diamond instead of a steel ball recess.

rockwell

The Rockwell test was conceived by a Viennese professor, Paul Ludwik, in his 1908 publication Die Kegelprobe, directly translated as the ‘Cone Trial’. However, it was not until 1914 that the commercial potential of the test was realized by the patent applicants, brothers Stanley and Hugh Rockwell. Commercial production of Rockwell testers began in the 1920s, and the test is still widely used today. One of the main strengths of the Rockwell is the small indentation space needed, unlike the Brinell test. It is also much easier to use, as readings can be given directly without the need for complex calculations and equations.

Microhardness and Knoop

In some cases where only a small sample of material is available or required for testing, microhardness may be used instead of the macrotest. Due to the small sample size, the test requires the use of a microscope to measure the indentation size following the test. The principle of microhardness testing is the same as used for Vickers with loads below 1 Kg and a facility may be required to measure indentations at magnifications up to 1000x.

The ability to use such a small sample is both a strength and a weakness of the test. On the one hand, only a small sample is needed, but due to the need to optically measure the indentation, the material must be metallographically prepared before testing. The test is also slower than the Vickers test and takes roughly the same time as the Brinell test.

Microhardness testing is used for hardness mapping with standard traverse techniques to verify the effective hardness of a case to ensure it is fit for purpose. There are many precision hardness testing applications where precise positioning of the indentation is required and microscopic phases can be analyzed for research and testing applications.

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