Brinell Hardness Testing

The Brinell hardness test implies pressing a 1, 2.5, 5 or 10 mm tungsten carbide ball into a sample material and measuring the diameter of the impression left.

Conversion Table


The Brinell test is used for larger samples with a coarse or inhomogeneous grain structure, such as castings and forgings. The maximum hardness for Brinell is 650 HBW in order not to deform the indenter.

Surface preparation

Micro hardness test

  • machined
  • ground
  • lapped
  • polished

Brinell loads table

  • Indentation time: 10-15 seconds
  • Sample thickness ASTM: At least 10 times the indentation depth
  • Sample thickness ISO: At least 8 times the indentation depth
Applicable standards

Applicable standards

  • ASTM E10
  • ISO 6506
  • JIS Z 2243

The most common Brinell methods

See the overview of the most common Brinell methods, corresponding materials and hardness range. Materials mentioned in the table are typical materials only.

The Brinell methods are generally divided into 4 subgroups (HB30, HB10, HB5, HB2.5), each with the same force/diameter ratio (F/D2), and each suitable for a different group of materials. Measured Brinell hardnesses can only be compared within the individual subgroups.
Brinell Test Method Table


  • HBW 2.5/187.5: Brinell 2.5 mm tungsten carbide ball and 187.5 kgf load.
  • HBW 5/750: Brinell 5 mm tungsten carbide ball and 750 kgf load.

HBW = Hardness Brinell Wolfram carbide
Wolfram carbide = Tungsten Carbide to underline that newer Brinell standards call for usage of tungsten carbide balls, as opposed to the (softer) steel balls previously used (HBS). Values will differ at higher hardnesses!

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