ASTM E384 - 11e1

    Standard Test Method for Knoop and Vickers Hardness of Materials

    Active Standard ASTM E384 | Developed by Subcommittee: E04.05

    Book of Standards Volume: 03.01


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    Significance and Use

    4.1 Hardness tests have been found to be very useful for materials evaluation, quality control of manufacturing processes and research and development efforts. Hardness, although empirical in nature, can be correlated to tensile strength for many metals, and is an indicator of wear resistance and ductility.

    4.2 Microindentation hardness tests extend testing to materials that are too thin or too small for macroindentation hardness tests. Microindentation hardness tests also allow specific phases or constituents and regions or gradients too small for macroindentation hardness testing to be evaluated.

    4.3 Because the Knoop and Vickers hardness will reveal hardness variations that may exist within a material, a single test value may not be representative of the bulk hardness.

    The Vickers indenter usually produces a geometrically similar indentation at all test forces. Except for tests at very low forces that produce indentations with diagonals smaller than about 25 μm, the hardness number will be essentially the same as produced by Vickers machines with test forces greater than 1 kgf, as long as the material being tested is reasonably homogeneous. For isotropic materials, the two diagonals of a Vickers indentation are equal in size. Recommendations for low force microindentation testing can be found in Appendix X5.

    The Knoop indenter does not produce a geometrically similar indentation as a function of test force. Consequently, the Knoop hardness will vary with test force. Due to its rhombic shape, the indentation depth is shallower for a Knoop indentation compared to a Vickers indentation under identical test conditions. The two diagonals of a Knoop indentation are markedly different. Ideally, the long diagonal is 7.114 times longer than the short diagonal, but this ratio is influenced by elastic recovery. Thus, the Knoop indenter is very useful for evaluating hardness gradients or thin coatings of sectioned samples.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers determination of the Knoop and Vickers hardness of materials, the verification of Knoop and Vickers hardness testing machines, and the calibration of standardized Knoop and Vickers test blocks.

    1.2 This test method covers Knoop and Vickers hardness tests made utilizing test forces in micro (9.807 × 10-3 to 9.807 N ) ( 1 to 1000 gf ) and macro (>9.807 to 1176.80 N) ( >1kg to 120 kgf ) ranges.

    Note 1—Previous versions of this standard limited test forces to 9.807 N (1 kgf).

    1.3 This test method includes all of the requirements to perform macro Vickers hardness tests as previously defined in Test Method E92, Standard Test Method for Vickers Hardness Testing.

    1.4 This test method includes an analysis of the possible sources of errors that can occur during Knoop and Vickers testing and how these factors affect the accuracy, repeatability, and reproducibility of test results.

    Note 2—While Committee E04 is primarily concerned with metals, the test procedures described are applicable to other materials.

    1.5 UnitsWhen 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 provided for information and much of the discussion in this standard as well as the method of reporting the test results refers to these units.

    1.6 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.

    ASTM Standards

    C1326 Test Method for Knoop Indentation Hardness of Advanced Ceramics

    C1327 Test Method for Vickers Indentation Hardness of Advanced Ceramics

    E3 Guide for Preparation of Metallographic Specimens

    E7 Terminology Relating to Metallography

    E29 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Test Data to Determine Conformance with Specifications

    E74 Practice of Calibration of Force-Measuring Instruments for Verifying the Force Indication of Testing Machines

    E92 Test Method for Vickers Hardness of Metallic Materials

    E122 Practice for Calculating Sample Size to Estimate, With Specified Precision, the Average for a Characteristic of a Lot or Process

    E140 Hardness Conversion Tables for Metals Relationship Among Brinell Hardness, Vickers Hardness, Rockwell Hardness, Superficial Hardness, Knoop Hardness, and Scleroscope Hardness

    E175 Terminology of Microscopy

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

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

    E766 Practice for Calibrating the Magnification of a Scanning Electron Microscope

    ISO Standards

    ISO/IEC17025 General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 19.060 (Mechanical testing)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 41114611(Hardness testers)


    DOI: 10.1520/E0384-11E01

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