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Hardness Testing

The term ‘hardness’ is generally defined as the resistance of a material to penetration by a harder body. Several test methods are used for plastics.

Shore Hardness Test

Shore Hardness

This method involves measuring how deeply an indentor penetrates into the material, using an indentor loaded via a spring with specified characteristics. The harder the material to be tested, the higher the indentor loading.  A range of different Shore scales have been established, using different indentor forms and spring characteristics. The best-known scales are Shore A and D, with additional scales such as Shore B, C, 0, 00, 000, and D0 for specific applications. Applications range from soft elastomers (Shore A) to thermoplastics (Shore D).  Both analog Shore hardness testers and digital versions with PC connection options are available from Zwick.

Ball Indentation Hardness Test

Ball Indentation Hardness

Ball indentation hardness to ISO 2039-1 is used for harder materials. A spherical indentor under constant load is pressed into the material to be tested. The indentation depth under load is used to determine the hardness value.

Rockwell Hardness Test

Rockwell Hardness Test

ISO 2039-2 and ASTM D 785 specify various Rockwell hardness scales for plastics testing. In contrast to ball indentation hardness, where the indentation depth is measured under load, measurement of the indentation depth with the Rockwell method takes place under a defined pre-load. Various indentors are available according to the Rockwell scale in use.

Typical Products for this Application:

Shore / IRHD hardness testers 

Shore / IRHD hardness testers

Shore and IRHD hardness testers determine the indentation depth of materials, from foams to rigid plastics and rubber.



Rockwell hardness testers

The various instruments in the Rockwell product group are used for classical Rockwell methods, superficial Rockwell methods and combinations of Rockwell and superficial Rockwell methods.


Zwick 3106 hardness tester 

Zwick 3106 hardness tester

The Zwick 3106 hardness tester can be used for all hardness tests involving depth measurement One particularly popular application is ball indentation.



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