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ASTM C1326-08e1

ASTM C1326-08e1

Standard Test Method for Knoop Indentation Hardness of Advanced Ceramics

2013-10-30 /Historical
Superseeded by:
Significance and Use:

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

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.

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 load, and cracking is much less of a problem (1). 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 loads 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.

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

Knoop hardness is calculated from the ratio of the applied load 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 load to the area of contact of the four faces of the undeformed indenter.)

A full hardness characterization includes measurements over a broad range of indentation loads. Knoop hardness of ceramics usually decreases with increasing indentation size or indentation force (load). 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 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 load.


1.1 This test method covers the determination of the Knoop indentation hardness of advanced ceramics.

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 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.

advanced ceramics; indentation; Knoop hardness; microscope; Advanced ceramics; Hardness (indentation); Knoop hardness (HK) number; Microscopic examination--advanced ceramics; Optical microscopy
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