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Cutting-edge hardness testing - .PDF file.

Inspection of manufactured goods has increasingly become standard practice to ensure products meet more and more demanding specifications. In some cases, this can mean that long established methods of quality control need to be pushed to their limits. One example is the heat treatment of steel. Hardness test-ing has been used to check heat treatments for more than 100 years. As applications have become more specific, and technical developments more refined, the test methods have developed further alongside of technology. In the highly competitive cutting blades industry, it is vital for the blade to have sufficient hardness to retain an edge, while too hard can cause brittle failure. When hardened materials are ground, residual heat may alter the microstructure and soften the blade edge. By design, the blades have little mass, so control of residual heat during the final finishing process is also critical. Accurate testing for hardness is therefore vital to ensure a high quality product. Testing the hardness of the cutting blades becomes challenging as indents must be made and measured accurately, using low loads and correspondingly small indents. This requires proper specimen preparation and careful use of hardness testing equipment. This article will review a guide to metallographic preparation and micro-hardness test processes for this application, although the principles are relevant to the use of Vickers testing for any hard material applications.

ITW Test & Measurement GmbH

Buehler has been a manufacturer of scientific instruments and supplies for cross-sectional material testing since more than 80 years.

Buehler is a division of Illinois Tool Works (ITW), and is based in Lake Bluff, Illinois.  ITW is a global, Fortune 200 company and global industrial manufacturer of value-added consumables and specialty equipment with related service businesses. Buehler is a premier manufacturer of scientific equipment and supplies for use in materials analysis with offices in nine countries, sales distribution in over 100 countries, and over 45 Buehler Solutions Centers.

Buehler is a manufacturer of scientific instruments & supplies for cross-sectional material testing. Buehler sectioning, mounting, grinding and polishing, imaging and analysis and hardness testing equipment along with consumables are used by metallurgical, metallography, petrography, research & development, university laboratories, quality control departments and failure analysis facilities for the analysis of all types of materials, including ceramics, composites, semiconductors, metals, rocks and minerals, and plastics. Buehler is well established as the world’s leading supplier of metallographic sample preparation and analysis instruments, equipment, consumable supplies and application solutions.

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