Brinell Hardness Tester

The Brinell hardness test method as used to determine Brinell hardness, is defined in ASTM E10. Most commonly it is used to test materials that have a structure that is too coarse or that have a surface that is too rough to be tested using another test method, e.g., castings and forgings. Brinell testing often use a very high test load (3000 kgf) and a 10mm diameter indenter so that the resulting indentation averages out most surface and sub-surface inconsistencies.

The Brinell method applies a predetermined test load (F) to a carbide ball of fixed diameter (D) which is held for a predetermined time period and then removed. The resulting impression is measured with a specially designed Brinell microscope or optical system across at least two diameters – usually at right angles to each other and these results are averaged (d). Although the calculation below can be used to generate the Brinell number, most often a chart is then used to convert the averaged diameter measurement to a Brinell hardness number.

Common test forces range from 500kgf often used for non-ferrous materials to 3000kgf usually used for steels and cast iron. There are other Brinell scales with load as low as 1kgf and 1mm diameter indenters but these are infrequently used.