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Experiment # 1

Measurement of Hardness by using Micro or Vicker’s Hardness Test

Micro Vickers Hardness Tester adopts LCD screen to display. By mean of control keys, HV or
HK hardness scales, testing force and duration time can be selected and brightness of light source
can be adjusted without steps. With measuring microscope, it may test out the length values of
diagonals D1and D2, and then press the keys to input the length values, and the hardness values
will be displayed on the LCD screen. Operation is easy.
The aim of this paper is to present our experience on determining the case depth in mechanical
equipment and machinery tools of carburized parts providing information on its mechanical
(1) To understand what hardness is, and how it can be used to indicate some properties of
(2) To conduct typical engineering hardness tests and be able to recognize commonly
used hardness scales and numbers
(3) To be able to understand the correlation between hardness numbers and the properties
of materials
(4) To learn the advantages and limitations of the Vicker’s Hardness Test.
Experimental Condition:
Temperature: 25oC

It is a common practice to test most materials before they are accepted for processing, and before
they are put into service to determine whether or not they meet the specifications required. One
of these tests is hardness.

What is Hardness?

Hardness has typically been defined as the resistance of a material to permanent penetration by
another one that is harder. This can be achieved by using an intender with hardness similar to
that of the diamond. In combination with the applied force on it and the velocity of the
application and finally the total time of the penetration applied.

Hardness Measurement Method

There are three types of tests used with accuracy by the metals
industry; they are the Rockwell hardness test, the Brinell hardness test, and
the Vickers hardness test. The way the three of these hardness tests
measure a metal's hardness is to determine the metal's resistance to the
penetration of a non-deformable ball or cone. The tests determine the depth
or area which such a ball or cone will sink into the metal, under a load, within
a specific period of time.
The followings are the most common hardness test methods used in
today`s technology:
1. Rockwell hardness test 3. Vickers/Micro
Hardness Test
2. Brinell hardness 4. Knoop hardness

Vicker’s/Micro Hardness Test

A method of determining the hardness of steel whereby a diamond pyramid is pressed into the
polished surface of the specimen and the diagonals of the
impression are measured with a microscope fitted with a
micrometer eye piece. The rate of application and duration
are automatically controlled and the load can be varied.
Two types of indenters are generally used for the Vickers
test family, a square base pyramid shaped diamond for
testing in a Vickers hardness tester and a narrow rhombus
shaped indenter for a Knoop hardness test.

Usage Range
Heat treated layer, carbonized layer, hardened hard layers, superficial coating, steels, non-ferrous
metal, micro and thin shaped components.

Vickers test methods are defined in the following standards:

• ASTM E384 – micro force ranges – 10g to 1kg

• ASTM E92 – macro force ranges - 1kg to 100kg

• ISO 6507-1,2,3 – micro and macro ranges

Auto Turret performs a series of load operations and object lens
for measuring comes automatically back to the central position
after making indentation. Positive turret stops ensure exact
alignment of the indenter to the measuring and scanning
objectives. This allows precise replacement of the diamond
impression on your test sample. Main Menu display
Loaded with a LCD display with backlight. The hardness tester
secures very clear and high visibility.
Loading mechanism with to fluctuation, “capable to hit aimed
portion”, is highly evaluated.
Knoop hardness calculating functions can be changed over with Measuring Data Display
a one-touch panel operation. (HK diamond indenter is optional)


In additional to the normal measuring lens (x10 or x20), one
more lens of different magnification can be mounted regularly.
(Additional lens is optional)

Overall Data Display

Newly designed VMT-7 (7S) can perform high-accuracy
measurements with the especially rigidity enhanced body.
Safety design applicable to EU low voltage command, EMC command. In addition to high-
rigidity body, overturn-preventive metal fittings are attached as standard to prevent overturning
by earthquakes etc.

Vicker’s Test Method

The principle of the Vickers Hardness method is similar to the Brinell test

The Vickers indenter is a 136 degrees square-based diamond pyramid.

The indenter is pressed into the sample by an accurately controlled test

force of 1 to 120 kgf.

The force is maintained for a specific dwell time, normally 10 – 15

After the dwell time is complete, the indenter is removed leaving an

indent in the sample that appears square shaped on the surface.

The impression, produced by the Vickers indenter is clearer, than the

impression of Brinell indenter; therefore this method is more accurate.

The size of the indent is determined optically by measuring the two

diagonals of the square indent and their average is calculated.The length Principle of Vicker's
Hardness Testing
of the impression diagonal is measured by means of a microscope, which
is usually an integral part of the Vickers Tester.

The load, varying from 1kgf to 120 kgf, is usually applied for 30 seconds.

The Vickers number (HV) is calculated by the formula:

HV = 1.854*F/ D²


F- Applied load, kg

D – Length of the impression diagonal, mm

The Vickers number, which normally ranges from HV 100 to HV1000 for
metals, will increase as the sample gets harder. Tables are available to make
the calculation simple, while all digital test instruments do it automatically.

The labeling for Vickers tests is HV (H= hardness, V = Vickers), then the test load and the test
time. The test load is indicated in the usual kgf numerical values. That is why the actual test load
must be divided by 9.81 to get the Vickers label (e.g. HV50: 50 = 490.5N / 9.81). Thus, a
Vickers hardness value might look as follows:
210 HV50/30

Vickers hardness 210, test load 490.5N, test time 30 seconds

Technical Specifications
10g (0.098N)、25g (0.245N)、50g (0.49N)、100g
(0.98N)、200g (1.96N)、300g (2.94N)、500g (4.9N)、1000g
Testing Force
Min Measuring Unit 0.5μm
Magnification of 100X For Observation ,400X For Measurement
Loading Method Automatically (load, keep, unload)
Overall Dimension 405×290×480mm
Net Weight 25kg
Max Height of Specimen 65mm
Power Supply AC220V±5%,50~60Hz
X-Y Testing Table Dimension: 100×100 mm. Max. Travel Range: 25×25mm
Standard Accessories Objectives 40x and 10x, Vickers Indenter, Microscope 10x,

• Because of the wide test force range, the Vickers test can be used on almost any metallic
material. The part size is only limited by the testing instrument's capacity.

• For instance, when a material is tested with a test load of 294.30N and then a second time
with 9.81N the results are the same (of course, only if the material is homogeneous and
without layers of different hardness values).

• The Vickers method is also suitable for materials with different layers. Increasing test
loads are applied subsequently to determine the thickness of certain surface layers, e.g.
after nitration hardening.

• Apart from that, all the rules mentioned above for the other methods (minimum thickness
= 10 x indentation depth) also apply to Vickers. In other words, the diagonal must not be
longer than 2/3 of the specimen thickness.
• The Vickers method is especially suitable for tests of small and thin parts or components
with any kind of surface treatment, i.e. for tests with low test loads. However, the Vickers
method should not be used for inhomogeneous materials, like cast iron.
• One scale covers the entire hardness range.
• A wide range of test forces to suit every application.
• Nondestructive, sample can normally be used.

• The main drawback of the Vickers test is the need to optically measure the indent size.
This requires that the test point be highly finished to be able to see the indent well enough
to make an accurate measurement.
• Slow. Testing can take 30 seconds not counting the sample preparation time.

• Two variants are available:
• Analogue tester 3212001 with evaluation via the enclosed hardness tables
• PC Tester 3212003 with automatic evaluation (indentation measurement on a PC
• Flexible test area height, can be swiveled by 180°
• Microscope with a series revolver head for up to 4 objective lenses
• Different objective lenses for a wide range of magnifications and picture ranges
• The PC model works in conjunction with the test software testXpert®. This software is
highlighted especially by its simple operation and adaption to changing test conditions
• Manual or motorized moving compound table variants are available
• Prisms, clamping devices and parallel vice are optional extras.
• The biggest advantage of Vickers is its scale, which comprises the smallest and the
highest hardness values in one scale. It is thus very suitable for laboratory tests.

• Most of the disadvantages of Vickers are based on the long duration of the whole
procedure because the indentation must be measured optically (with the help of a
microscope or projector). This, of course, also is a source for measuring errors. However,
modern, automatic image evaluation computer systems reduce this source of errors

• The surface must be well prepared and the penetrator must be applied evenly. Otherwise,
the smallest inclination would cause irregularities in the indentation. Thus, the Vickers
procedure is not suitable for routine tests.

• The indentation is not well readable on some materials because of the irregular
distribution of the load (more load on the edges than on the sides of the pyramid).

1. http://www.ukcalibrations.co.uk/vickers_htm.html
2. http://wapedia.mobi/en/Vickers_hardness_test
3. http://www.instron.co.uk
4. http://www.scribd.com/doc/18004150/Hardness-Report?autodown=pdf

5. “Technical Metallurgy” by Cliffe (page 150 – 154)

6. “Material, Their Nature, Fabrication and Properties” by Sergal (page 143 – 145, 71 –72)

7. “Metallurgy for Engineers” by Rollesan (page 15)