This section provides an overview for vickers hardness testers as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 10 vickers hardness tester manufacturers and their company rankings.
Table of Contents
A Vickers hardness tester is a hardness tester that evaluates the hardness by the length of the diagonal of the indentation formed after the diamond indenter is pressed into the surface of the test part with a specified load and the load is removed.
Similar to the Vickers hardness tester, the Brinell hardness tester determines hardness by the size of the indentation on the surface.
The Brinell hardness tester uses a 10 mm iron ball as the indenter for the indentation, whereas the Vickers hardness tester uses a diamond square with a 136° facing angle as the indenter.
In the Vickers hardness test, the lengths of the two diagonals of the square indentation are measured to evaluate the size of the indentation on the test surface.
The indenter of the Brinell hardness tester is a hard sphere. The diameter is measured because the indentation is circular.
Vickers hardness testing is mainly used to evaluate the hardness of metallic materials. There are several test methods to evaluate the hardness of metals, but the Vickers hardness test is a test method that can evaluate hardness in a very small range. Specifically, it is suitable for evaluating the hardness of a heat-treated, hardened layer, the depth of the hardened layer, and relatively thin materials.
In general, hardness is evaluated by the size and depth of the indentation created after a hard indenter is pressed into a specimen. The Vickers hardness test is able to evaluate the hardness only at shallow depths from the surface because the test load is small. For example, the depth of the hardened layer in carburized and quenched steel materials is about 0.4~1.0 mm. If an indenter is pressed into the surface of such a material with a large load, the indenter will be pressed deeper than the hardened layer and the hardness of the hardened layer cannot be correctly evaluated. The same principle applies to the hardness of thin parts, which cannot be correctly evaluated using a testing method with a large test load. The required specimen thickness is determined by the hardness of the specimen and the test load.
In the Vickers hardness test, it is sometimes referred to as the micro-Vickers hardness test, depending on the size of the load under which the indenter is pressed.
The Vickers hardness testers are the most versatile of all hardness testers. The test load can be selected arbitrarily, allowing correct evaluation regardless of the thickness of the test object.
The Brinell hardness tester uses a 10 mm spherical indenter, which produces a large indentation, whereas the diamond square of the Vickers hardness testers produces a very small indentation. Specifically, when testing the hardness of a 450Hv specimen with a test load of 1000gf, the length of the diagonal line is about 0.064mm for a flat specimen. This diagonal length is measured using a metal microscope.
By using a micro-Vickers hardness testers and reducing the load, the hardness of even thinner specimens can be tested. By selecting the appropriate test load, the surface hardness of surface treatments with thin hardened layers can be evaluated without the indentation penetrating the hardened layer. The specimen used for the Vickers hardness test is specified in terms of surface flatness, parallelism to the back surface, and surface roughness. In general, the specimens are polished to a mirror-like finish before measurement.
Rockwell hardness testers, like Vickers hardness testers, are the same in that the indenter is pressed against the object to be measured with a constant load, but there are two major differences: the shape of the indenter and the measurement volume. The shape of the indenter is a square pyramid diamond for the Vickers hardness testers, whereas the Rockwell hardness tester is spherical. This also results in a different shape of indentation after the test. The Vickers hardness testers produce a square indentation, while the Rockwell hardness tester leaves a circular indentation.
While the Vickers hardness testers measure the diagonal width of the indentation, the Rockwell hardness tester measures the depth of the indentation and calculates the hardness. Rockwell hardness testers are ideal for production sites where metallic materials are mainly used, since the results can be obtained quickly and easily by simply reading the depth.
The disadvantage of the Rockwell hardness tester is that it is necessary to change the indenter type and test conditions depending on the hardness of the object to be tested. With the Vickers hardness testers, the indenter is the same regardless of the test juice, although it takes more time to prepare and measure the test specimen. Even if the load is changed, as long as the hardness of the material is uniform, the test results are almost the same. Accurate evaluation is also not possible if the specimen has an uneven seating surface or a hollow structure that deflects due to the high test load.
Vickers hardness and Rockwell hardness can be converted to each other by referring to the hardness conversion table, so they can be used as approximate values, even when only one of the hardness data is available.
Vickers hardness testers are used to measure carburized or welded parts whose hardness varies from place to place, but it takes a lot of time for the operator to determine the location of each point and measure the hardness by hitting the indenter.
Recently, Vickers hardness testers equipped with an automatic mechanism that performs all this work fully automatically are widely used. Thus, a one-dimensional line can be set up to measure a range of several millimeters and dozens of points from the hardest surface to the hardest base metal part in carburized parts.
Also, two-dimensional areas as large as several hundred millimeters by several hundred points can be measured automatically for large objects, such as the molten metal and heat-affected zone of welded parts. Hardness values can also be expressed as a gradation map, making it easy-to-understand changes visually in hardness and providing a wealth of information for development and accident countermeasures.
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