Standard Historical Last Updated: Jul 11, 2022
ASTM D3363-20

Standard Test Method for Film Hardness by Pencil Test

Standard Test Method for Film Hardness by Pencil Test
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Significance and Use

4.1 Pencil hardness measurements have been used by the coatings industry for many years to determine the hardness of clear and pigmented organic coating films. This test method has also been used to determine the cure of these coatings, especially when forced dried using heat.

4.2 This test method is especially useful in developmental work and in production control testing in a single laboratory. It should be recognized that the results obtained may vary between different laboratories when different pencils as well as panels are used. To improve test result reproducibility for a specific group of tests, it is recommended to utilize drawing leads or pencils made by the same manufacturer and from the same batch. If drawing leads or pencils from the same manufacturer and from the same batch are not available at the time of subsequent evaluations, it shall be noted on the test report. For all tests, the manufacturer and lot number of the drawing leads or pencils shall be reported.

Note 2: Using leads or pencils made by different manufacturers or from the same manufacturer but different production batches, may result in significant variation for leads within the same pencil hardness scale.

4.3 If this test method is used as a basis for purchase agreement, maximum precision will be achieved if a given set of referee pencils be agreed upon between the purchaser and the seller.


1.1 This test method covers a procedure for rapid, inexpensive determination of the film hardness of an organic coating on a substrate in terms of drawing leads or pencil leads of known hardness.

1.2 This test method is similar in content (but not technically equivalent) to ISO 15184.

Note 1: Other procedures are available to measure permanent deformation of organic coatings under the action of a single point (stylus tip) including but not limited to Test Methods D2197, D5178, and G171.

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

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: 06.01
Developed by Subcommittee: D01.23
Pages: 3
DOI: 10.1520/D3363-20
ICS Code: 25.220.60