ASTM D785 - 08(2015)

    Standard Test Method for Rockwell Hardness of Plastics and Electrical Insulating Materials

    Active Standard ASTM D785 | Developed by Subcommittee: D20.10

    Book of Standards Volume: 08.01

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    Significance and Use

    4.1 A Rockwell hardness number is a number derived from the net increase in depth impression as the load on an indenter is increased from a fixed minor load to a major load and then returned to a minor load (Procedure A). A Rockwell alpha (α) hardness number represents the maximum possible remaining travel of a short-stroke machine from the net depth of impression, as the load on the indenter is increased from a fixed minor load to a major load (Procedure B). Indenters are round steel balls of specific diameters. Rockwell hardness numbers are always quoted with a scale symbol representing the indenter size, load, and dial scale used. This test method is based on Test Methods E18. Procedure A (Section 11) yields the indentation of the specimen remaining 15 s after a given major load is released to a standard 10-kg minor load. Procedure B (Section 12) yields the indentation of the indenter into the specimen after a 15-s application of the major load while the load is still applied. Each Rockwell scale division represents 0.002-mm (0.00008-in.) vertical movement of the indenter. In practice, the Rockwell hardness number is derived from the following relationship:

    Equation D0785-08R15_1


    HR   =   the Rockwell hardness number, and
    e   =   the depth of impression after removal of the major load, in units of 0.002 mm. This relation only holds for the E, M, L, R, and K scales.

    4.2 A Rockwell hardness number is directly related to the indentation hardness of a plastic material, with the higher the reading the harder the material. An α hardness number is equal to 150 minus the instrument reading. Due to a short overlap of Rockwell hardness scales by Procedure A, two different dial readings on different scales may be obtained on the same material, both of which may be technically correct.

    4.3 For certain types of materials having creep and recovery, the time factors involved in applications of major and minor loads have a considerable effect on the results of the measurements.

    4.4 The results obtained by this test method are not generally considered a measure of the abrasion or wear resistance of the plastic materials in question.

    4.5 Indentation hardness is used as an indication of cure of some thermosetting materials at room temperature. Generally, an uncured specimen has a hardness reading below normal.

    4.6 Each Rockwell hardness scale in Table 1 is an extension of the proceeding less severe scale, and while there is some overlap between adjacent scales, a correlation table is not desirable. Readings on one material may be satisfactory for such a table, but there is no guarantee that other plastic materials will give corresponding readings because of differences in elasticity, creep, and shear characteristics.

    (A) This major load is not the sum of the actual weights at the back of the frame but is a ratio of this load, depending on the leverage arm of machine. One make and model has a 25 to 1 leverage arm.

    4.7 Before proceeding with this test method, reference should be made to the specification of the material being tested. Any test specimen preparation, conditioning, dimensions, and/or testing parameters covered in the materials specification shall take precedence over those mentioned in this test method. If there are no material specifications, then the default conditions apply.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers two procedures for testing the indention hardness of plastics and related plastic electrical insulating materials by means of the Rockwell hardness tester.

    1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are for information only.

    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 establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

    Note 1: This test method and ISO 2039-2 are equivalent. Procedure A of this test method is equivalent to the test method in the main body of ISO 2039-2. Procedure B of this test method is equivalent to the test method in the integral annex part of ISO 2039-2.

    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

    D618 Practice for Conditioning Plastics for Testing

    D883 Terminology Relating to Plastics

    D2240 Test Method for Rubber Property--Durometer Hardness

    D4000 Classification System for Specifying Plastic Materials

    E18 Test Methods for Rockwell Hardness of Metallic Materials

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

    ISO Standards

    ISO 2039-2 PlasticsDetermination of HardnessPart 2: Rockwell Hardness

    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 29.035.20 (Plastic and rubber insulating materials)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 30265800(Plastic bars and sheets); 39121721(Electrical insulators)

    Referencing This Standard
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    DOI: 10.1520/D0785-08R15

    Citation Format

    ASTM D785-08(2015), Standard Test Method for Rockwell Hardness of Plastics and Electrical Insulating Materials, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2015,

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