Gordon England Surface Engineering Forum

Vickers Hardness Test

The Vickers hardness test method consists of indenting the test material with a diamond indenter, in the form of a right pyramid with a square base and an angle of 136 degrees between opposite faces subjected to a load of 1 to 100 kgf. The full load is normally applied for 10 to 15 seconds. The two diagonals of the indentation left in the surface of the material after removal of the load are measured using a microscope and their average calculated. The area of the sloping surface of the indentation is calculated. The Vickers hardness is the quotient obtained by dividing the kgf load by the square mm area of indentation.

Vickers Pyramid Hardness Indentation

F= Load in kgf
d = Arithmetic mean of the two diagonals, d1 and d2in mm

HV = Vickers hardness
Vickers Pyramid Hardness Formula

When the mean diagonal of the indentation has been determined the Vickers hardness may be calculated from the formula, but is more convenient to use conversion tables. The Vickers hardness should be reported like 800 HV/10, which means a Vickers hardness of 800, was obtained using a 10 kgf force. Several different loading settings give practically identical hardness numbers on uniform material, which is much better than the arbitrary changing of scale with the other hardness testing methods. The advantages of the Vickers hardness test are that extremely accurate readings can be taken, and just one type of indenter is used for all types of metals and surface treatments. Although thoroughly adaptable and very precise for testing the softest and hardest of materials, under varying loads, the Vickers machine is a floor standing unit that is more expensive than the Brinell or Rockwell machines.

Vickers Hardness Number Calculator

Force (kgf) Enter value
Mean diagonal length d (mm) Enter value
HV Result

There is now a trend towards reporting Vickers hardness in SI units (MPa or GPa) particularly in academic papers. Unfortunately, this can cause confusion. Vickers hardness (e.g. HV/30) value should normally be expressed as a number only (without the units kgf/mm2). Rigorous application of SI is a problem. Most Vickers hardness testing machines use forces of 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 50 and 100 kgf and tables for calculating HV. SI would involve reporting force in newtons (compare 700 HV/30 to HV/294 N = 6.87 GPa) which is practically meaningless and messy to engineers and technicians. To convert a Vickers hardness number the force applied needs converting from kgf to newtons and the area needs converting form mm2 to m2 to give results in pascals using the formula above.

To convert HV to MPa multiply by 9.807
To convert HV to GPa multiply by 0.009807
Or use conversion calculator

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 and Ultimate 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)

HV, MPa and GPa Conversion Calculator

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