ASTM B277 - 95(2012)

    Standard Test Method for Hardness of Electrical Contact Materials

    Active Standard ASTM B277 | Developed by Subcommittee: B02.11

    Book of Standards Volume: 02.04


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    ASTM B277

    Significance and Use

    The Rockwell hardness and Rockwell superficial tests are useful when the test specimens are sufficiently thick (in relation to the indentor load) to ensure that the results are not affected by the flow of metal on the surface of the anvil. On a solid piece the flow of metal on the under surface may be detected by a bulge or marking. On composite pieces where the contact materials are attached to backings of a different material, the thickness limitations imposed for a solid piece shall apply to the contact material portion of such composite pieces.

    Note 1—As a matter of information, it may be stated that tests on fine silver showed that on annealed samples having a Rockwell 15T hardness of 27, the readings were not affected on thicknesses 1/16 in. (1.6 mm) or over. On thicknesses of 1/32 in. (0.8 mm) Rockwell 15T scale readings of 72 and higher were not affected.

    The microhardness test is of questionable significance when the metallic phases in a material are so large that the indentation does not represent an accurate average hardness. Sintered contact materials usually contain segregates differing greatly in hardness from the matrix hardness and may destroy the validity of microhardness readings.

    Other aspects of significance and use shall be as described in the particular ASTM test method used, as listed in Section 2.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the determination of the hardness of metallic materials used for electrical contacts. Rockwell, Rockwell superficial, Brinell, and microhardness tests are included, along with information on the limitations and use of these tests.

    1.2 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

    1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to become familiar will all hazards including those identified in the appropriate Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for this product/material as provided by the manufacturer, to establish appropriate safety and health practices, and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    E10 Test Method for Brinell Hardness of Metallic Materials

    E18 Test Methods for Rockwell Hardness of Metallic Materials

    E384 Test Method for Knoop and Vickers Hardness of Materials


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 77.120.99 (Other non-ferrous metals and their alloys)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 41114611(Hardness testers)


    DOI: 10.1520/B0277-95R12

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