hardness testers & durometers
Hardness Tests are used in mechanical engineering to determine the hardness of a material to deformation. Several such tests exist, wherein the examined material is indented until an impression is formed; these tests can be performed on a macroscopic or microscopic scale.
When testing metals, indentation hardness correlates roughly linearly with tensile strength, but it is an imperfect correlation often limited to small ranges of strength and hardness for each indentation geometry. This relation permits economically important nondestructive testing of bulk metal deliveries with lightweight, even portable equipment, such as hand-held Rockwell hardness testers.
The determination of the Rockwell hardness of a material involves the application of a minor load followed by a major load. The minor load establishes the zero position. The major load is applied, then removed while still maintaining the minor load.
The depth of penetration from the zero datum is measured from a dial, on which a harder material gives a higher number. That is, the penetration depth and hardness are inversely proportional. The chief advantage of Rockwell hardness is its ability to display hardness values directly, thus obviating tedious calculations involved in other hardness measurement techniques.