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GENG 231 Materials Science

Semester: Spring 2015


Program: Industrial

Lab. Report (Experiment #

Hardness Test

Course Instructor: Dr. Elsadig Mahdi

Student Name: Hajar ALmansouri

Teaching Assistant: Jayant Benurwar

Student No.: 201102908

Group No: B51(Wednesday)

Date (Received):

25 / 03 /__2015__

Date (Submitted): 1/04 /2015__

Another mechanical property that may be important to consider is hardness, which is a
measure of a material's resistance to localized plastic deformation (e.g. a small dent or a
scratch). In other words hardness is a property of material which enables it to resist
indentation, abrasion, machining and scratching.
Quantitative hardness techniques have been developed over the years in which a small
indenter is forced into the surface of a material to be tested, under controlled conditions of
load and rate of application. The depth or size of the resulting indentation is measured, which
in turn is related to a hardness number; the softer the material, the larger and deeper the
indentation, and the lower the hardness index number. Measured hardnesses are only relative
(rather than absolute), and care should be exercised when comparing values determined by
different techniques
The type of hardness considered depends upon the service requirements to be met. For
example, many structural and machine parts such as rails, gears and axles are subjected to
service requirements where a high resistance to indentation under load is desirable. Under
such circumstances, indentation hardness of the material is of prime importance. Brinell and
Rockwell hardness tests are the tests which are commonly used to determine such indentation
hardness of the material.
There were several reasons that made hardness test preformed more frequently:
1- were simple and inexpensive normally no special specimen needed to be prepared,
and the testing apparatus is less expensive.
2- The test was non-destructive the specimen was neither fractured nor excessively
deformed (only a small indentation).
3- Other mechanical properties often may be estimated from hardness data, such as
tensile strength.

Upon completion of the laboratory exercise, the student will be able to
1. To determine the indentation hardness of different metals by Brinell and Rockwell
hardness tests.
2. To estimate the tensile strength of carbon steel from the measured indentation

1- Plain Carbon Steel
2- Brass
3- Aluminum

Two round specimens of the mentioned materials will be tested for indentation hardness using
Brinell & Rockwell hardness testing machines. The procedure as mentioned in ASTM E10 &
ASTM E 18 standards respectively will be followed.

Testing Equipment
1. Brinell Hardness Testing Machine & low power microscope.
2. Rockwell Hardness Testing Machine
3. Combined Brinell Rockwell Hardness Machine (New Technology)

During this experiment high forces are generated by the hardness testing machine. Be especially
careful when installing and loading a specimen. Follow the rules while making the indentations.
Do not take readings near to the edge of the specimen, else specimen may fly off from the platen
and may cause injury. Stay clear while the load is being applied.
Chemical Hazards: Normally none, but this will depend on the materials the specimens are
made from. Specimens used in this experiment are usually made of steel, copper, brass,
aluminum alloys or other conventional structural materials.
Physical Hazards: Hardness testing machines can generate up to 3000kg force. Be very careful
when installing a specimen and stay back when the test is running.
Biohazards: None.
Radiation Hazards: None.

System Description
1. Brinell Hardness Machine:

In Brinell tests, a
hard, spherical indenter is forced
into the surface of
the metal to be tested. The diameter
of the hardened
steel (or tungsten carbide) indenter
is 10.00 mm (0.394
in.). Standard loads range between
500 and 3000 kg in
500-kg increments: during a test,
maintained constant for a specified
time (between 10
and 30 s). Harder materials require
loads. The Brinell hardness
number, HB, is a
function of both the magnitude of
the load and the
diameter is measured with a special
microscope, utilizing a scale that is
eyepiece. The measured diameter is
then converted to the appropriate HB number using a chart or the formula given below:

HB =

Where P = Applied Load (kg)

{[D (D - D - d ) ]/ 2}

Surface Area of Indentatio

D = Diameter of Ball Indenter (mm)

d = Diameter of Indentation (mm)

2. Rockwell Hardness Machine

The Rockwell tests constitute the most common method used to measure hardness because they
are so simple to perform and require no special skills. Several different scales may be utilized
from possible combinations of various indenters and different loads, which permit the testing of
virtually all metals and alloys, from the hardest to the softest. Indenters include spherical and
hardened steel balls having diameters of 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, and 1/2 in. (1.588, 3.175, 6.350, and
12.70 mm), and a conical diamond (Brale) indenter, which is used for the very hard materials.
With this system, a hardness number is determined by the difference in depth of penetration
resulting from the application of an initial minor load followed by a larger major load; utilization
of a minor load enhances test accuracy. The minor load is 10 kg, whereas major loads are 60,
100, and 150 kg. Each scale is represented by a letter of the alphabet. When specifying Rockwell
hardnesses, both hardness number and scale symbol must be indicated. The scale is designated
by the symbol HR followed by the appropriate scale identification. For example, 80 HRB
represents a Rockwell hardness of 80 on the B scale Inaccuracies also result if the test specimen
is too thin, if an indentation is made too near a specimen edge, or if two indentations are made
too close to one another. Specimen thickness should be at least ten times the indentation depth,
whereas allowance should be made for at least three indentation diameters between the center of

one indentation and the specimen edge, or to the center of a second indentation. Furthermore,
testing of specimens stacked one on top of another is not recommended. Also, accuracy is
dependent on the indentation being made into a smooth flat surface.

Brinell Hardness Test:
1. The motor was turned on .
2. On the platen of the machine the flat ground specimen was placed .
3. The indenter was set to the SET position by moving the hand lever
4. The specimen was brought in contact with the ball penetrator by
means of the adjusting hand wheel and the star handle.
5. The hand lever was moved down to apply the load.
6. The load was maintained for 15 seconds and removed by raising the
hand lever.
7. The specimen was removed from the platen when loading indicator
showed NO TEST.
8. The lengths of two orthogonal diameters of the indentation (in mm)
were measured by Brinell microscope.
9. The mean value of the two diameters was determined.
10The hardness value was determined by using standard tables or
formula given above in Brinell test.

Rockwell Hardness Test:

1. The appropriate anvil was chosen and fit the same on the top of the
elevating screw.
2. The appropriate indenter was fit by pulling down on the securing sleeve
and inserting the indenter into the stem.

3. the specimen was placed on the anvil and the elevating screw was raised
until contact was made with the indenter.
4. The indicator would begin to rotate as the preliminary load was applied
and movement was to be continued until the Set position had reached
involving approximately two turns of the indicator.
5. Stopped raising the elevating screw when the indicator was approximately
vertical i.e. within the green zone on the dial.
6. Adjusted to the Set position by means of the finger wheel on the left
hand side below the elevating screw adjustment
7. Applied the additional load by lowering the front operating lever.
8. Waited until the indicator comes to rest and then removed the additional
load by raising the handle.
9. Read the hardness value of the metal using appropriate scale on the dial.

Objective Questions:
1. Name at least 6 components (parts) where hardness is the most
important property?







2. Explain why the components you mentioned in (1) above need

Hardness is one measure of the strength of the structure of the mineral
relative to the strength of its chemical bonds. The softest minerals have
metallic bonds or even weaker van der Waals bonds as important
components of their structure. Hardness is generally consistent because the
chemistry of minerals is generally consistent.
Hardness can be tested through scratching. A scratch on a mineral is
actually a groove produced by micro fractures on the surface of the mineral.
It requires either the breaking of bonds or the displacement of atoms (as in
the metallic bonded minerals). A mineral can only be scratched by a harder
substance. A hard mineral can scratch a softer mineral, but a soft mineral
cannot scratch a harder mineral (no matter how hard you try). Therefore, a
relative scale can be established to account for the differences in hardness
simply by seeing which mineral scratches another.

3. Briefly explain the correlation between hardness & ductility and hardness
& tensile strength of the material.
Harder material tend to be stronger because strong and tight chemical
bonding promote both. However, brittle material can have low tensile
strength , they are strong, but at defect site the localized stress is far
greater than the average stress per area. On the other hand the more
harder the materials is the less ductile it is.
4. why is it necessary to maintain P / D2 ratio of 30 for ferrous materials and

5 or 10 for nonferrousmaterials is Brinell hardness test?

It was important to keep the ratios constant because otherwise the hardness value for each
material would be different and no comparison could be made ,with available equipment of
special design, the method can be used with the following pairs of Force and Ball Diameter for
F/D2 = 30:
Force (kg)





the usability is extended to softer materials like copper or aluminum alloys with the only
condition of establishing a different ratio for F/D2 , like 15, 5, 2.5, 1.25, 1.

1. Record the Brinell hardness values for the given materials in Table 1.
Carbon Steel




500 Kg


700 Kg


500 Kg


10 mm


5 mm


10 mm

d1 =

2.75 mm


2.45 mm

d1 =


d2 =

2.7 mm

d2 =

2.5 mm

d2 =


davg = (2.75+2.7)/2 =

davg = (2.45+2.5)/2 =

davg = (2.45+2.4)/2 =

HB = 84.11

HB = 135.96

HB = 106.64

HB number have been found by using the formula given below:

HB =

{[D (D - D2- d2 ) ]/ 2}

2. Record the Rockwell hardness values for the given materials in Table 2.

Carbon Steel










Avg :
(92+95.5+92)/3 =

Avg :
(82.5+85.5+87)/3 =

Avg :
(75+76.5+75.5)/3 =

Estimate the tensile strengths of carbon steel from the conversion table (Table 4A) using
average Brinell hardness values from Table 1 ?
The average Brinell hardness = 136.95 , by interpolation and using tensile strength data from
table 4A = 67.975 psi
In conclusion , Hardness is the property of a material that enables it to resist plastic deformation,
usually by penetration. However, the term hardness may also refer to resistance to bending,
scratching, abrasion or cutting. Also , the result from the experiment is analyzed and
the error and the cause of different readings in hardness measurement were
discussed. The indentation hardness of different metals was determined by
Brinell and Rockwell hardness tests. The Rockwell hardness was converted to
Brinell hardness using hardness conversion tables.
Books :
1- Materials Science and Engineering, William D. Callister and David G. Rethwisch(Eighth
2- Revankar, G. (2003). "Introduction to hardness testing." Mechanical testing and
evaluation, ASM Online Vol. 8.

3- Samuel, J. (2009). Introduction to materials science course manual. Madison, Wisconsin:

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Website :
1- http://www.academia.edu/4075363/EXPERIMENT_3_HARDNESS_TEST
2- http://www.hardnesstesters.com/Applications/Rockwell-HardnessTesting.aspx