An Introduction to Hardness Testing

One of the most widely used testing procedures worldwide is known as hardness testing, which is required in a vast variety of applications, including automotive, aerospace, and university laboratories. In these different environments, hardness testing is used for researching new materials and standardizing material properties. This is key to the success of any given component or sub-assembly within the automobile and aircraft industries.

Image credit: Kemet International

It is imperative that coatings and case hardness treatments can prove they are as hard as specified and that there is a match between the depth of the hardened structural layers and its intended application.

There are a variety of machines available to suit these myriad application needs. However, the options on offer can also confuse users who must decide between numerous options of different features and software.

Kemet has often found the cost of a hardness tester to be significantly greater than a complete suite of Kemet machines necessary to prepare a sample for hardness testing, thanks to the fact they have supplied sample preparation equipment and consumables for over three decades.

The choice of hardness tester, however, does not need to be complicated for most applications. ISO and ASTM standards dictate how the testing is performed, including how a unit calculates sample hardness and how they must be calibrated.

Kemet has launched the Duroline range of hardness testers. This line features a benchtop design capable of Vickers and Knoop measurement, with an integrated 22-in full HD multi-touch monitor.

The testers are easy to use, the N-sure software package is intuitive, and, when coupled with the automated x/y stage option, boasts the ability for automatic multi-measurement.

The software has built-in CHD, EHT, and NHT measurements, offering highly accurate results thanks to automatic contrast and focus for the most accurate result and the automatic generation of test reports. Test loads from HV0.01 – HV30 can be accommodated with several models.

Image credit: Kemet International

Ideal for maintaining quality assurance, quality control, performing research, and more, the Duroline R-Series range of hardness testers is also suitable for metallurgical departments to monitor the hardness during fabrication and after heat treatment or welding.

Duroline R-Series hardness testers can also be utilized for performance analysis on new alloys and metal parts. Typical applications include assessing the Rockwell hardness of metal components and steel alloys, large pieces or small cut samples, spherical or cylindrical parts, pipes, crankshaft, large gears, rings, and performing Jominy testS.

The Duroline range is primarily aimed at the material testing laboratory and the smaller component production QA, focusing on small precision parts, thin material, or wire coatings, and has everything the user might need at a competitive price.

Can Hardness Testing be Non-Destructive (NDT)?

It is certainly possible for hardness testing to be non-destructive, but this depends on the material and application being tested. If a hardness test is being performed on raw materials such as forgings or castings (both of which will require further processing to remove indentation on material), this can be classed as non-destructive testing (NDT). However, this same hardness testing is considered destructive if performed on a critical turbine blade for aerospace NDT.

Why is Hardness Testing Important?

Hardness testing is an essential tool in analysis. It is, therefore, vital for distinguishing between different materials, the development and improvement of materials and technologies within materials science, and materials engineering and diagnostics. Hardness testing is a tool that allows the user to determine the characteristic values of materials, which is important to assess material use in industries (such as the suitability of a material for a technically relevant part), for clarification of cases of damage (damage analysis) and to distinguish between materials (in the case of material confusion).

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Kemet International Ltd.

For more information on this source, please visit Kemet International Ltd.


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