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Laboratory 3: Hardness testing

Taif University

Laboratory 3
Hardness
Testing

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Objectives
Understanding the principles of hardness
testing, i.e., Vickers hardness tests.
Explaination variations in hardness
properties of selected materials such as
aluminium, steel and brass and explaination
of factors that might affects their hardness
properties.
Analysis the obtained hardness values in
relevant to the nature of each material to
be measured and use this information as a
tool for selecting suitable materials for
engineering applications.

Mechanical Metallurgy Laboratory 3

Laboratory 2: Hardness testing

1. Introduction
Hardness is one of the most basic mechanical
properties of engineering materials. Hardness test is
practical and provide a quick assessment and the
result can be used as a good indicator for material
selections. This is for example, the selection of
materials suitable for metal-forming dies or cutting
tools. Hardness test is also employed for quality
assurance in parts which require high wear resistance
such as gears.
Therefore, indentation hardness measurement
is conveniently used for metallic materials. A deeper
or wider indentation indicates a less resistance to
plastic deformation of the material being tested,
resulting in a lower hardness value.
The standard test methods according to the
American Society Testing and Materials (ASTM)
available are, for instance, ASTM E10-07a (Standard
test method for Brinell hardness of metallic
materials), ASTM E18-08 (Standard test method for
Rockwell hardness of metallic materials) and ASTM
E92-41 (Standard test method for Vickers hardness of
metallic
materials)
These
hardness
testing
techniques are selected in relation to specimen
dimensions, type of materials and the required
hardness information.

1.3 Vickers Hardness Test


Vickers hardness test requires a diamond
pyramid indenter with an included angle of 136 o. This
technique is also called a diamond pyramid hardness
test (DPH) according to the shape of the indenter. To
carry on the test, the diamond indenter is pressed on
to a prepared metal surface to cause a square-based
pyramid indentation as illustrated in figure 4.

Figure 4: Vickers hardness test (a) Vickers


indentation, (b)measurement of impression
diagonal.

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Laboratory 2: Hardness testing

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c) Impression on Vickers
hardness test sample

Figure 4: Vickers hardness test (a) Vickers


indentation, (b) measurement of impression
diagonal.
The Vickers hardness value (VHN) can be
calculated from the applied load divided by areas of
indentation, at which the latter is derived from the
diagonals of the pyramid as expressed in
the equation below
2PSIN( /

VHN
=

2) =
D

Where
P

is

is

is

1.854
P
D

the applied load,


kg
the average length of the

;(2)

diagonals = (d1+d2)/2) , mm
the angle between the opposite
faces of the diamond) = 136o

Generally, the applied load should be carefully


selected to achieve a perfect square-based pyramid
indentation for accurate hardness values, see figure
5 (a). The pincushion indentation as shown in figure 5
(b) normally observed in annealed metal results from
sinking of metal surrounding the pyramid faces. The
measured diagonals would be too long, thus, giving
an under-estimated hardness value. In figure 5 (c), a
barrel-shaped indentation usually achieved from
cold-worked metals provides an indentation with
metal pile-up at the pyramid faces. In such a case,
the measured diagonals would be too small and lead
to an over-estimated hardness value obtained.

Vickers hardness is widely used in experimental


and research areas because the VHN scale practically
offers a wide range of hardness values. For instance,
the VHN values range from 5 to 1,500 can be
obtained from measuring materials from dead soft to
full hard. This method is therefore more convenient
and provides a wider range of the hardness values in
comparison to those obtained

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from Rockwell and Brinell hardness tests. The applied


loads vary from 1-120 kg, which depends on the
materials being tested. However, Vickers hardness
test is incommonly used for company daily checks.
This is due to errors which might occur in the
measurement of the diagonals and longer time
required to finish the test.

Figure 5: Vickers hardness indentations a) perfect


indentation, b) pincushion and c) barrel-shaped.
1.4 Micro Vickers hardness test
Micro Vickers hardness requires a micro-sized
indenter
(figure
6),
which
allows
hardness
measurement in very limited areas such as surfaces
of fine wires, thin sheets and foils. Moreover hardness
measurements at specific microstructural phases of
materials, for instance, hardness measurment of
ferrites and pearlites existing in steels is also
possible. This is beneficial for identifying any
hardness variation caused by metallurgical changes
such as hardening, quenching, plating, welding,
bonding processes, where the larger indenter used
for macro Vickers hardness test limits its application
in this case. The testing procedure of micro Vickers
hardness is similar to that of macro Vickers hardness.
However, the prepared surface should be well
polished without any fine scratches in order to
minimize errors which might occur when indenting on
these scratches.
Another useful type of micro hardness test
employs a Knoop indenter as shown in figure 6 (right)

in order to accommodate limited testing areas such


as on cross-sections of heat-treated surfaces. The
Knoop hardness number (KHN) can be calculated
from the applied load divided by the unrecovered
projected area of the indention as follows
KHN
=

14.2
P
L

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;(3)
9

Laboratory 2:
Hardness testing

Where P is
l

is

the applied load, kg


the length of the long
diagonals, mm

Figure 6: Micro hardness indentations a) Vickers


diamond-pyramid indenter, b)
Knoop diamond-pyramid
indenter.
Furthermore, the strength of some metals can
be determined from the plastic area under the stressstrain curve. This is of interest when the strength of
the materials can not be measured directly from the
standard tensile test. In this case, the yield strength
at 0.2% offset can be determined from the Vickers
hardness number as shown in the expression
O
=

VH
N (0.1)N
3

where
is

VH
N is
n

is

;(5)

the yield strength at 0.2%


offset, kgf mm-2 (= 9.8 MPa)
the Vickers hardness
number, VHN
the work hardening
exponent

In summary, hardness measurements for


example Brinell, Rockwell, Vickers and Knoop are
considered to be fast and easy ways to acquire
hardness values of materials. Suitable hardness
measurements should be selected depending on the
nature of the materials, dimensions, specimen
locations
to
be
measured,
metallurgical
microstructures or phases of interest, etc. Analysis of
the
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Laboratory 2: Hardness testing

hardness data leads to better understanding of


materials and further development in advanced
materials. The selection of proper materials to be
used in desired applications can be therefore
effectively made. Moreover, prediction of material
strength is possible by interpreting the hardness
values if the work hardening exponent is known.

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Laboratory 2: Hardness testing

For convenience, the hardness values measured


using different methods such as Brinell, Rockwell or
Vickers testing can be converted using the hardness
value conversion table as shown in table 3.
Table 3 Hardness value conversion table for
Brinell, Rockwell 3RS Vickers hardness values.
Rockw
ell
Diamon
d

Superficial
Rockwell

1/16"
Ball

"N" Brale
Penetrater

Brin
ell
10 mm Ball,
3000 kgf Load

Brale
150
kgf
C
Sca
le

60
kgf
A
Sca
le

100
kgf
D
Sca
le

80
79
78
77
76
75
74
73
72
71
70
69
68
67
66
65
64
63
62
61
60
59
58
57
56
55
54
53
52
51
50

92
92
91
91
90
90
89
89
88
87
87
86
86
85
85
84
84
83
83
82
81
81
80
80
79
79
78
77
77
76
76

87
86
85
84
83
83
82
81
80
80
79
78
77
76
76
75
74
73
73
72
71
70
69
69
68
67
66
65
65
64
63

100
kgf
B
Sca
le

15
kg
Loa
d
15
N
97
96
96
95
95
94
94
93
93
92
92
91
91
90
90
89
89
88
88
87
87
86
86
86

30
kg
Loa
d

30N
92
92
91
91
90
89
89
88
87
87
86
85
85
84
83
82
81
80
79
79
78
77
76
75
74
73
72
71
70
69
69

45
kg
Loa
d

45N
87
87
86
85
84
83
82
81
80
79
78
77
79
75
73
72
74
70
69
68
67
66
65
63
62
61
60
59
57
56
55

Diam.
Of Ball
Impres
sion in

mm

2.25
2.30
2.30
2.35
2.35
2.40
2.45
2.55
2.55
2.60
2.60
2.65
2.70
2.75
2.75
2.80

Tensile
strength
Vick
ers

Hard
ness

Equivalent
1000 lb.
Sq.

Num
ber

In.

745
710
710
682
682
653
627
578
578
555
555
534
514
495
495
477

1865
1787
1710
1633
1556
1478
1400
1323
1245
1160
1076
1004
942
894
854
820
789
763
746
720
697
674
653
633
613
595
577
560
544
528
513

326
315
304
294
287
279
269
261
254
245

49
48
47

75
75
74

62
61
61

85
85
84

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68
67
66

54
53
51

2.85
2.90
2.90

461
444
444

498
484
471

238
232
225

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Laboratory 2: Hardness testing

Rockw
ell
Diamon
d

Superficial
Rockwell

1/16"
Ball

"N" Brale
Penetrater

Brin
ell
10 mm Ball,
3000 kgf Load

Brale
150
kgf
C
Sca
le

60
kgf
A
Sca
le

100
kgf
D
Sca
le

46
45
44
43
42
41
40
39
38
37
36
35
34
33
32
31
30
29
28
27
26
25
24
23
22
21
20
18
16*
14*
12*
10*
8*
6*
4*
2*
0*

73
73
73
72
72
71
70
70
69
69
68
68
67
67
66
66
65
65
64
64
63
63
62
62
62
61
61

60
59
59
58
57
56
55
55
54
53
52
52
51
50
49
48
48
47
46
45
45
44
43
42
42
41
40

100
kgf
B
Sca
le

109
109
108
108
107
106
106
105
104
103
103
102
101
100
99
99
98
97
95
94
92
90
89
87
85
84
82
81
79
77
74
72
70

15
kg
Loa
d
15
N
84
83
83
82
82
81
80
80
79
79
78
78
77
77
76
76
75
75
74
73
73
72
72
71
71
70
69

30
kg
Loa
d
30N
65
64
63
62
61
60
60
59
58
57
56
55
54
53
52
51
50
50
49
48
47
46
45
44
43
42
42

45
kg
Loa
d
45N
50
49
48
47
46
44
43
42
41
40
39
37
36
38
34
33
32
30
29
28
27
26
24
23
22
21
20

Diam.
Of Ball
Impres
sion in
mm
2.95
3.00
3.00
3.05
3.10
3.10
3.15
3.20
3.25
3.30
3.35
3.35
3.40
3.45
3.50
3.55
3.60
3.65
3.70
3.75
3.80
3.80
3.85
3.90
3.95
4.00
4.05
4.10
4.15
4.25
4.35
4.40
4.50
4.60
4.65
4.80
4.80
4.90
5.00
5.10
5.20
5.30

Tensile
strength
Vick
ers

Hard
ness

Equivalent
1000 lb.
Sq.

Num
ber

In.

432
415
415
401
388
388
375
363
352
341
331
331
321
311
302
293
285
277
269
262
255
255
248
241
235
229
223
217
212
203
192
187
179
170
166
156
156
149
143
137
131
126

458
446
434
423
412
402
392
382
372
363
354
345
336
327
318
310
302
294
286
279
272
266
260
254
248
243
238
230
222
213
204
195
187
180
173
166
160
156
150
143
137
132

219
211
206
202
198
191
185
181
176
171
168
163
159
154
150
146
142
138
134
131
126
124
122
118
116
113
111
107
102
98
92
90
87
83
79
77
74
73
70
67
65
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Laboratory 2: Hardness testing

Rockw
ell
Diamon
d

Superficial
Rockwell

1/16"
Ball

"N" Brale
Penetrater

Brin
ell
10 mm Ball,
3000 kgf Load

Brale
150
kgf
C
Sca
le

60
kgf
A
Sca
le

100
kgf
D
Sca
le

100
kgf
B
Sca
le
68
65

15
kg
Lo
ad
15
N

30
kg
Loa
d
30N

45
kg
Loa
d
45N

Diam.
Of Ball
Impres
sion in
mm
5.40
5.50
5.60

Tensile
strength
Vick
ers

Hard
ness

Equivalent
1000 lb.
Sq.

Num
ber

In.

121
116
112

127
122
117

60
58
56

In summary, hardness testing methods for


example Brinell, Rockwell, Vickers and Knoops are
practical in measuring mechanical properties of
metals and other engineering materials. It is
essential for engineers to select an appropriate
hardness testing method for the desired applications
or materials used. This is depending on size and
shape of the test pieces, metallurgical phases and
their locations to be analysed. The correct hardness
values are beneficial for material selection and
design together with material development for higher
performance. Moreover, the hardness values can be
used for estimating other related mechanical
properties of the materials, for example, tensile
strength or yield strength.

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Laboratory 2: Hardness testing

2.

3.

Materials and equipment


2.1

Test specimens

2.2

Brinell hardness machine

2.3

Rockwell hardness machine

2.4

Vickers hardness machine

2.5

Micro Vickers hardness machine

Experimental procedure
3.1 Surfaces of aluminium, brass steel and weld
samples must be flattened and ground using
sand papers. Polishing of the metal surface is
required for only Rockwell and Vickers hardness
tests while Brinell hardness test requires only
flat and ground surfaces.
3.2 Hardness measurement is carried out using
Brinell, Rockwell and Vickers hardness testing
techniques on the prepared surfaces at 10
positions on each sample.
3.3 Hardness profile testing is conducted across
the weld sample at 10 positions and 1 mm
intervals using a Vickers hardness testing
machine.
3.4 Micro Vickers hardness testing is carried out
using the polished samples.
3.5 Summarize the experimental results on the
table provided and exhibit the results
graphically. Compare and discuss the obtained
results in order to relate hardness properties of
the metals to their microstructure. Give
conclusions.

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Laboratory 2: Hardness testing

4.

Results
4.1

Brinell hardness values (BHN)


Alumini
Mild
Position
um
steel

Brass

Position 1
Position 2
Position 3
Position 4
Position 5
Position 6
Position 7
Position 8
Position 9
Position 10
Mean
Stdev
Table 2: Brinell hardness values of
aluminium, mild steel, brass and weld

Figure 4: Graph showing Brinell hardness


values of aluminium, mild steel and brass.

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Laboratory 2: Hardness testing

4.2 Rockwell hardness values (HRA, HRB, HRC)


Alumini
Mild
Position
um
steel
Brass
Position 1
Position 2
Position 3
Position 4
Position 5
Position 6
Position 7
Position 8
Position 9
Position 10
Mean
Stdev
Table 3: Rockwell hardness values of
aluminium, mild steel, brass and weld

Figure5: Graph showing Rockwell hardness


values of aluminium, mild steel and brass.

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Laboratory 2: Hardness testing

4.3 Vickers hardness values


Position
Aluminium
Weld

Mild steel Brass

Position 1
Position 2
Position 3
Position 4
Position 5
Position 6
Position 7
Position 8
Position 9
Position 10
Mean
Stdev
Table 4: Vickers hardness values of
aluminium, mild steel, brass and the weld.

Figure 6: Graph showing Vickers hardness


values of aluminium, mild steel and brass.
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4.4 Micro Vickers hardness (VHN)


Alumini
Mild
Position
um
steel

Brass

Position 1
Position 2
Position 3
Position 4
Position 5
Position 6
Position 7
Position 8
Position 9
Position 10
Mean
Stdev
Table 5: Micro Vickers hardness values of
aluminium, mild steel, brass and weld

Figure 7: Graph showing micro Vickers hardness


value of aluminium, mild steel and brass.

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Laboratory 2: Hardness testing

4.5 Hardness profile of welded sample in relevant to


the weld microstructure

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5. Discussion
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Laboratory 2: Hardness testing

6. Conclusions
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Laboratory 2: Hardness testing

7. Questions
7.1 Which metal does provide the highest
hardness values? Why?
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7.2
Explain why the hardness values in the
welded area are different from the hardness
values obtained in the base metal.
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7.3 Compare Macro Vickers and micro


Vickers hardness values obtained from
the experimental results.
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7.4 Explain the relationship between hardness
and tensile strength values.
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Laboratory 2: Hardness testing

8.

References
8.1
Dieter, G.E., Mechanical metallurgy,
1988, SI metric edition, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 007-100406-8.
8.2
Hashemi, S. Foundations of materials
science and engineering, 2006, 4th edition,
McGraw-Hill, ISBN 007-125690-3.

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