The Rockwell scale and test were developed by Stanley P. Rockwell. As a metallurgist for a ball bearing company, he was looking for a way to test the efficacy of the heat treatment process that the company was using. However, the testing methods at his disposal presented a variety of complications. In order to overcome these difficulties, Rockwell developed his own testing method. With a sequence of force applications, a lot of information about the hardness, strength, and resistance of a metal or plastic can be gained. Today, professionals in many industries use Rockwell hardness testers to obtain pertinent information.
There are several advantages to using the Rockwell testing method. The test can be completed within just a few seconds for some materials; for other materials, the method still delivers fast results. The results are accurate and the information can then be used in many different applications. Rockwell hardness testers replaced the time-consuming Vickers test, the much larger-scale Brinell test, and the difficult Scleroscope test. Today, the Rockwell testers are portable and convenient for use in many circumstances.
The most common type of indenter used in Rockwell hardness testing is the diamond cone. It is ground at 120 degrees for use with hardened steels and carbides. Tungsten carbides are used as the indenter for softer metals. The hardness measure is written using the letters HR and then the appropriate scale. An example is HRB 54. The material has a hardness of 54 on the Rockwell B scale. Higher numbers refer to harder materials.
From Stanley Rockwell’s first desire for a more efficient and accurate testing method to today’s widespread use across many industries, Rockwell hardness testers have established themselves as an essential piece of equipment. Professionals in many occupations, research positions, and even educational settings now rely on the information obtained through this testing method. The results of the test extend far beyond the modest indentations made by the testing machine; without being aware of it, people all over the world are affected by this one test.
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