Center for Tribology Research

Macro Indentation and Mechanical Properties

Rockwell Indent

Vickers Indent

Spherical Indent

Measuring mechanical
properties of a tube

The Universal Mechanical Testers series UMT with their large selection of force sensors (within ten orders of magnitude from 0.1 µN to 1 kN), depth sensors , indenters (from 50 nm Berkovich tips to 12.7 mm balls), and versatile user-friendly software (with automated data analysis), are an effective tool for measuring micro and macro hardness of thin films, coatings and bulk materials on all common hardness scales.

UMT tester can be utilized for all common hardness measurements, namely:

Brinell macro-hardness per the (ASTM) E10-01, with balls 1 mm (loads 10 to 300 N), 2 mm (loads 40
to 400 N), 2.5 mm (loads 250 to 620 N) or 5 mm (loads 250 to 620 N). The load is applied for a specified time (10 to 30 s), then diameter of the recovered indent is measured with a microscope.

Vickers macro-hardness per the ASTM E92-03, based on the Brinell idea of applying a standard load
(from 10 N to 1.2 kN) and then measuring a resultant indent. Comparing to Brinell, a diamond square-
based pyramid (with the face angle of 136º) used as an indenter allows for testing harder materials.

Vickers and Knoop micro-hardness per the ASTM E384-99, under lower loads (0.1 to 10 N). Both tests use small diamond pyramid indenters with different bases: square for the Vickers and rhomb for the Knoops (with the face angles of 172.5º and 130º, one diagonal being 7.1 times longer than the other). After the indentation, the Vickers hardness is calculated based on the average length of two indent diagonals, while the Knoop hardness is calculated from the length of the longest indent diagonal.

Rockwell hardness per the ASTM E18-05, both macro-hardness tests with a pre-load of 100 N and final loads of either 0.6 kN or 1 kN and "superficial" micro- hardness tests with a pre-load of 30 N and final loads of 150, 300 or 450 N. The Rockwell tests use 15 standard macro-scales and 15 superficial micro- scales and various indenters.

UMT can also be utilized to measure many other macro mechanical properties:

  • Tensile and Compressive stress
  • Tension
  • Modulus
  • Elasticity
  • Fatigue in multi axis
  • Creep


  • Environmental Chambers (1200 degree C, Vacuum, humidity)
  • Mapping of unlimited number of indents.
  • In-line imaging options (3d profiler recommended).


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Contact CETR to discuss your testing needs in detail, for more information and pricing or to set up an appointment to visit our lab in Northern California. You will surely be pleased with our wide expertise, unique equipment and friendly effective services.