Understanding the different hardness testing types and systems can be useful to determine an optimal solution. Hardness testing functionality has evolved, and now users can dial into world-class-caliber instrumentation that more closely aligns with their applications at hand.
One of the most common indentation hardness tests used today is the Rockwell hardness test. Although less widespread, the Brinell and Vickers hardness tests are also utilized. Most indentation hardness tests measure the deformation that occurs when the material being tested is penetrated with an indenter. Two levels of force are applied to the indenter at specified rates and dwell times when performing a Rockwell hardness test. This is different than the Brinell and Vickers tests, where the size of the indentation is measured after the indentation process. The Rockwell hardness of the material is based on the difference in the depth of the indenter at two specific times during the testing cycle. The value of hardness is calculated using a formula that was derived to yield a number falling within an arbitrarily defined range of numbers known as a Rockwell hardness scale.