Standard Historical Last Updated: Feb 15, 2023 Track Document
ASTM C1326-13(2018)

Standard Test Method for Knoop Indentation Hardness of Advanced Ceramics

Standard Test Method for Knoop Indentation Hardness of Advanced Ceramics C1326-13R18 ASTM|C1326-13R18|en-US Standard Test Method for Knoop Indentation Hardness of Advanced Ceramics Standard new BOS Vol. 15.01 Committee C28
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Significance and Use

5.1 For advanced ceramics, Knoop indenters are used to create indentations. The surface projection of the long diagonal is measured with optical microscopes.

5.2 The Knoop indentation hardness is one of many properties that is used to characterize advanced ceramics. Attempts have been made to relate Knoop 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 For advanced ceramics, the Knoop indentation is often preferred to the Vickers indentation since the Knoop long diagonal length is 2.8 times longer than the Vickers diagonal for the same force, and cracking is much less of a problem (1).5 On the other hand, the long slender tip of the Knoop indentation is more difficult to precisely discern, especially in materials with low contrast. The indentation forces chosen in this test method are designed to produce indentations as large as may be possible with conventional microhardness equipment, yet not so large as to cause cracking.

5.4 The Knoop indentation is shallower than Vickers indentations made at the same force. Knoop indents may be useful in evaluating coating hardnesses.

5.5 Knoop hardness is calculated from the ratio of the applied force divided by the projected indentation area on the specimen surface. It is assumed that the elastic springback of the narrow diagonal is negligible. (Vickers indenters are also used to measure hardness, but Vickers hardness is calculated from the ratio of applied force to the area of contact of the four faces of the undeformed indenter.)

5.6 A full hardness characterization includes measurements over a broad range of indentation forces. Knoop hardness of ceramics usually decreases with increasing indentation size or indentation force such as that shown in Fig. 1.6 The trend is known as the indentation size effect (ISE). Hardness approaches a plateau constant hardness at sufficiently large indentation size or forces (loads). The test forces 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.

FIG. 1 A Typical Indentation Size Effect (ISE) Curve for a Ceramic (The data shown are for NIST SRM 2830 silicon nitride)

A Typical Indentation Size Effect (ISE) Curve for a Ceramic (The data shown are for NIST SRM 2830 silicon nitride)A Typical Indentation Size Effect (ISE) Curve for a Ceramic (The data shown are for NIST SRM 2830 silicon nitride)


1.1 This test method covers the determination of the Knoop indentation hardness of advanced ceramics. In this test, a pointed, rhombic-based, 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 long diagonal of the permanent indentation is measured using a light microscope. The length of the long diagonal and the applied force are used to calculate the Knoop hardness which represents the material’s resistance to penetration by the Knoop indenter.

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 Knoop hardness be reported either in units of GPa or as a dimensionless Knoop hardness number.

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, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.5 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 15.01
Developed by Subcommittee: C28.01
Pages: 10
DOI: 10.1520/C1326-13R18
ICS Code: 81.060.30