Hardness TestingCreep & Elastic ModulusFracture ToughnessScratch & Adhesion TestingProfilometryWear & Coefficient of Friction

Nano, Micro, Vickers & Rockwell Hardness

Quick Guide

Indentation Testing
     Elastic Modulus
     Fracture Toughness

Scratch Testing
     Scratch Resistance

     Linear Reciprocating

Coefficient of Friction
     Dynamic with wear

Mechanical Testing

     Data Processing

Training & Consulting


 Indent on a rough surface


 Precise positioning of indent


 Fused silica
Courtesy of Fischer-Cripps Laboratories

Testing includes:

ASTM E2546 


Hardness testing services include:

          Nanoindentation (Vickers and MPa units)
          Micro, Vickers
          Rockwell (all scales, 1/100 point resolution)

Rockwell measurements with NIST, ISO and ASTM settings.

Nanoindentation, also known as instrumented indentation, can be used for bulk materials and thick coatings; it is however especially appropriate for small features, thin coatings and materials such as glass and ceramics that crack under too much load.

Properties such as hardness, elastic modulus and creep can be determined with a single indent.  It is based on the analysis of the load-penetration curve measured while doing an imprint.  It is computer-controlled and it is not influenced by the operator's judgement of the imprint' shape.  

It is often the case that hardness testing is performed using too much load given the dimensions of the sample or feature to be measured.  Many are mistakenly using conventional measurement techniques when they should be using nanoindentation.

Keep the following in mind when choosing a hardness testing technique:

  • A hardness value is invalid if an indent shows sign of cracking or pile up;
  • Ideally an indent should not be deeper than 1/7 to 1/10 of the coating thickness;
  • When measuring the hardness of a coating using a cross-section, the distance between the edge of coating (surface/interface) and the indent itself should be at least 3 times the size of the diagonals;
  • The hardness of most samples can be measured using instrumented indentation without the necessity to have a polished cross-section.
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