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    ASTM C1327 - 15

    Standard Test Method for Vickers Indentation Hardness of Advanced Ceramics

    Active Standard ASTM C1327 | Developed by Subcommittee: C28.01

    Book of Standards Volume: 15.01


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 For advanced ceramics, Vickers indenters are used to create indentations whose surface-projected diagonals are measured with optical microscopes. The Vickers indenter creates a square impression from which two surface-projected diagonal lengths are measured. Vickers hardness is calculated from the ratio of the applied force to the area of contact of the four faces of the undeformed indenter. (In contrast, Knoop indenters are also used to measure hardness, but Knoop hardness is calculated from the ratio of the applied force to the projected area on the specimen surface.)

    5.2 Vickers indentation hardness is one of many properties that is used to characterize advanced ceramics. Attempts have been made to relate Vickers indentation hardness to other hardness scales, but no generally accepted methods are available. Such conversions are limited in scope and should be used with caution, except for special cases where a reliable basis for the conversion has been obtained by comparison tests.

    5.3 Vickers indentation diagonal lengths are approximately 2.8 times shorter than the long diagonal of Knoop indentations, and the indentation depth is approximately 1.5 times deeper than Knoop indentations made at the same force.

    5.4 Vickers indentations are influenced less by specimen surface flatness, parallelism, and surface finish than Knoop indentations, but these parameters must be considered nonetheless.

    5.5 Vickers indentations are much more likely to cause cracks in advanced ceramics than Knoop indentations. The cracks may influence the measured hardness by fundamentally altering the deformation processes that contribute to the formation of an impression, and they may impair or preclude measurement of the diagonal lengths due to excessive damage at the indentation tips or sides.

    5.6 A full hardness characterization includes measurements over a broad range of indentation forces. Vickers hardness of ceramics usually decreases with increasing indentation size or indentation force, as shown in Fig. 1. The trend is known as the indentation size effect (ISE). Hardness approaches a plateau constant hardness at sufficiently large indentation size or forces. The test forces or loads that are needed to achieve a constant hardness vary with the ceramic. The test force specified in this standard is intended to be sufficiently large that hardness is either close to or on the plateau, but not so large as to introduce excessive cracking. A comprehensive characterization of the ISE is recommended but is beyond the scope of this test method, which measures hardness at a single, designated force.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the determination of the Vickers indentation hardness of advanced ceramics. In this test, a pointed, square base, pyramidal diamond indenter of prescribed shape is pressed into the surface of a ceramic with a predetermined force to produce a relatively small, permanent indentation. The surface projection of the two diagonals of the permanent indentation is measured using a light microscope. The average diagonal size and the applied force are used to calculate the Vickers hardness, which represents the material’s resistance to penetration by the Vickers indenter. Hardness is computed as the ratio of the force to the contact surface area.

    1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.3 Units—When Knoop and Vickers hardness tests were developed, the force levels were specified in units of grams-force (gf) and kilograms-force (kgf). This standard specifies the units of force and length in the International System of Units (SI); that is, force in newtons (N) and length in mm or μm. However, because of the historical precedent and continued common usage, force values in gf and kgf units are occasionally provided for information. This test method specifies that Vickers hardness be reported either in units of GPa, or a dimensionless Vickers hardness number that has implied units of kgf/mm2.

    1.4 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 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.

    Japanese Standard

    JIS R 1610 Testing Method for Vickers Hardness of High Performance Ceramics Available from Japanese Standards Organization (JSA), 4-1-24 Akasaka Minato-Ku, Tokyo, 107-8440, Japan, http://www.jsa.or.jp.

    European Standard

    CEN ENV 843-4 Advanced Technical Ceramics, Monolithic Ceramics, Mechanical Properties at Room Temperature, Part 4: Vickers, Knoop and Rockwell Superficial Hardness Available from European Committee for Standardization (CEN), 36 rue de Stassart, B-1050, Brussels, Belgium, http://www.cenorm.be.

    ASTM Standards

    E4 Practices for Force Verification of Testing Machines

    E177 Practice for Use of the Terms Precision and Bias in ASTM Test Methods

    E384 Test Method for Knoop and Vickers Hardness of Materials

    E691 Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 19.060 (Mechanical testing); 81.060.99 (Other standards related to ceramics)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/C1327-15

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM C1327-15, Standard Test Method for Vickers Indentation Hardness of Advanced Ceramics, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2015, www.astm.org

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