The Brinell Hardness Test

The Brinell hardness test method consists of indenting the test material with a 10 mm diameter hardened steel or carbide ball subjected to a load of 3000 kg. For softer materials the load can be reduced to 1500 kg or 500 kg to avoid excessive indentation. The full load is normally applied for 10 to 15 seconds in the case of iron and steel and for at least 30 seconds in the case of other metals. The diameter of the indentation left in the test material is measured with a low powered microscope. The Brinell harness number is calculated by dividing the load applied by the surface area of the indentation.

Brinell Hardness Schematic

Brinell Hardness Number BHN FormulaLarger View


The diameter of the impression is the average of two readings at right angles and the use of a Brinell hardness number table can simplify the determination of the Brinell hardness. A well structured Brinell hardness number reveals the test conditions, and looks like this, "75 HB 10/500/30" which means that a Brinell Hardness of 75 was obtained using a 10mm diameter hardened steel with a 500 kilogram load applied for a period of 30 seconds. On tests of extremely hard metals a tungsten carbide ball is substituted for the steel ball. Compared to the other hardness test methods, the Brinell ball makes the deepest and widest indentation, so the test averages the hardness over a wider amount of material, which will more accurately account for multiple grain structures and any irregularities in the uniformity of the material. This method is the best for achieving the bulk or macro-hardness of a material, particularly those materials with heterogeneous structures.

Brinell Hardness Number Calculator

Force (kgf)Enter value
Diameter of ball indenter (mm)Enter value
Diameter of Indentation (mm)Enter value
Brinell Hardness Number (HB)Result







Links To:

Hardness Testing

Rockwell Hardness Test

Rockwell Superficial Hardness Test

Brinell Hardness Test

Vickers Hardness Test

Microhardness Test

Mohs Hardness Test

Scleroscope and other hardness testing methods


Hardness Conversion Tables and Charts:

Hardness Conversion Table(colour version - may take time to load)

Hardness Conversion Table(non-colour version)

Hardness Conversion Chart (1)

Hardness Conversion Chart (2)

Chart of Brinell, Vickers and Ultimate Tensile Strength Equivalents (1)

Chart of Brinell, Vickers andUltimate Tensile Strength Equivalents (2)

Hardness Conversion Table related to Rockwell C Hardness Scale (hard materials) (colour)

Hardness Conversion Table related to Rockwell C Hardness Scale (hard materials) (non-colour)

Hardness Conversion Chart related to Rockwell C Hardness Scales (hard materials)

Estimated Hardness Equivalent Chart related to Rockwell C and Vickers (hard materials)

Hardness Conversion Table related to Rockwell B Hardness Scale (soft metals) (colour)

Hardness Conversion Table related to Rockwell B Hardness Scale (soft metals) (non-colour)

Hardness Conversion Chart related to Rockwell B Hardness Scale (soft metals)

Table of Minimum Test Piece Thickness for Rockwell Hardness Testing using Ball Indenters

Table of Minimum Test Piece Thickness for Rockwell Hardness Testing using Diamond Indenters

HV, MPa and GPa Conversion Calculator

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