Sei sulla pagina 1di 20


An electric arc furnace (EAF) is a furnace that heats charged material by means of an electric
Arc furnaces range in size from small units of approximately one ton capacity (used
in foundries for producing cast iron products) up to about 400 ton units used for
secondary steelmaking. Arc furnaces used in research laboratories and by dentists may have a
capacity of only a few dozen grams. Industrial electric arc furnace temperatures can be up to
1,800 C (3,272 F), while laboratory units can exceed 3,000 C (5,432 F). Arc furnaces differ
from induction furnaces in that the charge material is directly exposed to an electric arc, and the
current in the furnace terminals passes through the charged material.

Scrap metal is delivered to a scrap bay, located next to the melt shop. Scrap generally comes in
two main grades: shred (whitegoods, cars and other objects made of similar light-gauge steel)
and heavy melt (large slabs and beams), along with some direct reduced iron (DRI) or pig
iron for chemical balance. Some furnaces melt almost 100% DRI.
The scrap is loaded into large buckets called baskets, with "clamshell" doors for a base. Care is
taken to layer the scrap in the basket to ensure good furnace operation; heavy melt is placed on
top of a light layer of protective shred, on top of which is placed more shred. These layers should
be present in the furnace after charging. After loading, the basket may pass to a scrap pre-heater,
which uses hot furnace off-gases to heat the scrap and recover energy, increasing plant
The scrap basket is then taken to the melt shop, the roof is swung off the furnace, and the furnace
is charged with scrap from the basket. Charging is one of the more dangerous operations for the
EAF operators. A lot of potential energy is released by multiple tonnes of falling metal; any
liquid metal in the furnace is often displaced upwards and outwards by the solid scrap, and
the grease and dust on the scrap is ignited if the furnace is hot, resulting in a fireball erupting. In
some twin-shell furnaces, the scrap is charged into the second shell while the first is being
melted down, and pre-heated with off-gas from the active shell. Other operations are continuous
chargingpre-heating scrap on a conveyor belt, which then discharges the scrap into the furnace
proper, or charging the scrap from a shaft set above the furnace, with off-gases directed through
the shaft. Other furnaces can be charged with hot (molten) metal from other operations.
After charging, the roof is swung back over the furnace and meltdown commences. The
electrodes are lowered onto the scrap, an arc is struck and the electrodes are then set to bore into
the layer of shred at the top of the furnace. Lower voltages are selected for this first part of the
operation to protect the roof and walls from excessive heat and damage from the arcs. Once the
electrodes have reached the heavy melt at the base of the furnace and the arcs are shielded by the
scrap, the voltage can be increased and the electrodes raised slightly, lengthening the arcs and
increasing power to the melt. This enables a molten pool to form more rapidly, reducing tap-to-
tap times. Oxygen is blown into the scrap, combusting or cutting the steel, and extra chemical
heat is provided by wall-mounted oxygen-fuel burners. Both processes accelerate scrap
meltdown. Supersonic nozzles enable oxygen jets to penetrate foaming slag and reach the liquid
An important part of steelmaking is the formation of slag, which floats on the surface of the
molten steel. Slag usually consists of metal oxides, and acts as a destination for oxidised
impurities, as a thermal blanket (stopping excessive heat loss) and helping to reduce erosion of
the refractory lining. For a furnace with basic refractories, which includes most carbon steel-
producing furnaces, the usual slag formers are calcium oxide (CaO, in the form of burnt lime)
and magnesium oxide (MgO, in the form of dolomite and magnesite). These slag formers are
either charged with the scrap, or blown into the furnace during meltdown. Another major
component of EAF slag is iron oxide from steel combusting with the injected oxygen. Later in
the heat, carbon (in the form of coke or coal) is injected into this slag layer, reacting with the iron
oxide to form metallic iron and carbon monoxide gas, which then causes the slag to foam,
allowing greater thermal efficiency, and better arc stability and electrical efficiency. The slag
blanket also covers the arcs, preventing damage to the furnace roof and sidewalls from radiant
Once the scrap has completely melted down and a flat bath is reached, another bucket of scrap
can be charged into the furnace and melted down, although EAF development is moving towards
single-charge designs. After the second charge is completely melted, refining operations take
place to check and correct the steel chemistry and superheat the melt above its freezing
temperature in preparation for tapping. More slag formers are introduced and more oxygen is
blown into the bath, burning out impurities such
as silicon, sulfur, phosphorus, aluminium, manganese, and calcium, and removing their oxides to
the slag. Removal ofcarbon takes place after these elements have burnt out first, as they have a
greater affinity for oxygen. Metals that have a poorer affinity for oxygen than iron, such
as nickel and copper, cannot be removed throughoxidation and must be controlled through scrap
chemistry alone, such as introducing the direct reduced iron and pig iron mentioned earlier. A
foaming slag is maintained throughout, and often overflows the furnace to pour out of the slag
door into the slag pit. Temperature sampling and chemical sampling take place via automatic
lances. Oxygen and carbon can be automatically measured via special probes that dip into the
steel, but for all other elements, a "chill" samplea small, solidified sample of the steelis
analysed on an arc-emission spectrometer.
Once the temperature and chemistry are correct, the steel is tapped out into a preheated ladle
through tilting the furnace. For plain-carbon steel furnaces, as soon as slag is detected during
tapping the furnace is rapidly tilted back towards the deslagging side, minimising slag carryover
into the ladle. For some special steel grades, including stainless steel, the slag is poured into the
ladle as well, to be treated at the ladle furnace to recover valuable alloying elements. During
tapping some alloy additions are introduced into the metal stream, and more lime is added on top
of the ladle to begin building a new slag layer. Often, a few tonnes of liquid steel and slag is left
in the furnace in order to form a "hot heel", which helps preheat the next charge of scrap and
accelerate its meltdown. During and after tapping, the furnace is "turned around": the slag door is
cleaned of solidified slag, repairs may take place, and electrodes are inspected for damage or
lengthened through the addition of new segments; the taphole is filled with sand at the
completion of tapping. For a 90-tonne, medium-power furnace, the whole process will usually
take about 6070 minutes from the tapping of one heat to the tapping of the next (the tap-to-tap
Introduction about scrap

Scrap metal originates both in business and residential environments. Typically a
"scrapper" will advertise their services to conveniently remove scrap metal for people
who don't need it, or need to get rid of it.
Scrap is often taken to a wrecking yard (also known as a scrapyard, junkyard, or
breaker's yard), where it is processed for later melting into new products. A wrecking
yard, depending on its location, may allow customers to browse their lot and purchase
items before they are sent to the smelters, although many scrap yards that deal in large
quantities of scrap usually do not, often selling entire units such
as engines ormachinery by weight with no regard to their functional status. Customers
are typically required to supply all of their own tools and labour to extract parts, and
some scrapyards may first require waiving liability forpersonal injury before entering.
Many scrapyards also sell bulk metals (stainless steel, etc.) by weight, often at prices
substantially below the retail purchasing costs of similar pieces.
In contrast to wreckers, scrapyards typically sell everything by weight, rather than by
item. To the scrapyard, the primary value of the scrap is what the smelter will give them
for it, rather than the value of whatever shape the metal may be in. An auto wrecker, on
the other hand, would price exactly the same scrap based on what the item does,
regardless of what it weighs. Typically, if a wrecker cannot sell something above the
value of the metal in it, they would then take it to the scrapyard and sell it by weight.
Equipment containing parts of various metals can often be purchased at a price below
that of either of the metals, due to saving the scrapyard the labour of separating the
metals before shipping them to be recycled.

Hub cutting
A method and system for cutting hub bores in metal railroad wheels is disclosed. The system
includes a lead and second torch for cutting the hub bores. In the method, the lead torch is moved
to an initial position above the wheel. The lead torch is energized and moved to cut through a
part of the wheel. The second torch is moved to an initial position above the wheel. The second
torch is then energized and moved to cut through a part of the wheel. The entire hub bore is cut
in the wheel. Additional torches may also be provided. A gantry system for supporting the lead
and second torches is disclosed. The gantry system includes lead and second linear movement
means arranged parallel to each other and a third linear movement means perpendicular to the
lead and second linear movement means. The gantry system also includes a lead torch carriage
means for supporting the lead torch and a second torch carriage means for supporting the second
torch. The lead torch carriage means is connected to be movable by the lead linear movement
means and the second torch carriage means is connected to be movable by the second third linear
movement means. The lead and second linear movement means are supported by the third linear
movement means and connected for independent movement along the third linear movement
means. The hub-cutting system may include a position sensing means, a temperature sensing
means, and a control means that allows the movement and speed of the lead torch and second
torch to be adjusted based upon the sensed position and temperature of the wheel.

Wheel transfer crane
A gantry crane is provided which is equipped with standard wheels having rubber tires for free
maneuverability on a road surface, such as asphalt, gravel, pavement, etc., wherein the crane is
additionally equipped with a plurality of railwheels to provide auxiliary support one or more rails
in the loading area. In a first mode, the crane is supported only on rubber tires for driving on a
paved surface, and in other modes, one or both sides of the crane are supported via the railwheels
on rails. In an embodiment, a railwheel may be securely mounted coaxially to the steel rim of the
respective steel wheels, forming a dual or combination wheel. The railwheels are sized relative to
the tires of the standard wheels so that the railwheel does not impair non-rail loading operations,
i.e., the railwheel vertically clears the ground even when the tires deflect as the crane is fully
loaded. Railwheels may be provided on one or both sides of the crane. Each of the railwheel has
dual flanges to maintain rollable positioning of the railwheel on the rail, enabling the crane to be
driven in a self-steering manner.

The Rail Stamping Machine STRSM rolls the required number/letter combination into the web
of the rail during production, I. e. during the passage of the rail on the outrun roller table in red
hot condition.
The stamping text, changing of the stamping text, the penetration depth and the location of the
stamps on the rail are pre-selected and executed fully automatic.
The machine is able to find the position of the rail on the roller table and to follow the rail
movements over the rail length and to run with and follow a changing roller table speed.

After the last pass in the rolling mill the rail is moved from the end of the roller table to the
cooling bed. Head and tail scrap are cut off on this way.
The best location for the rail stamping machine is at a short distance after the scrap saw for the
front cut (to avoid that bent front ends can enter the rail stamping machine).
The stamping machine detects the oncoming rail (via infrared sensor) and moves its stamping
wheel to the future stamping position.
First the rail head passes the protection flap. This adjustable flap ensures that the rail head is
not bent vertically and likely to damage the stamping disc. The rail head passes a second infrared
sensor that triggers machine operation and measures the exact position of the rail on the roller
table in relation to the stamping machine. The machine reads this information and moves to the
exact stamping position.
A speed measurement roller is located in front of the stamping head (under the roller table) and
is lifted in the very moment when the rail head passes this position.
Heat treatment process
Heat treating
Heat treating furnace at 1,800 F (980 C)
Heat treating is a group of industrial and metalworking processes used to alter the physical, and
sometimes chemical, properties of a material. The most common application is metallurgical.
Heat treatments are also used in the manufacture of many other materials, such as glass. Heat
treatment involves the use of heating or chilling, normally to extreme temperatures, to achieve a
desired result such as hardening or softening of a material. Heat treatment techniques include
annealing, case hardening, precipitation strengthening, tempering and quenching. It is
noteworthy that while the term heat treatment applies only to processes where the heating and
cooling are done for the specific purpose of altering properties intentionally, heating and cooling
often occur incidentally during other manufacturing processes such as hot forming or welding.
Metallic materials consist of a microstructure of small crystals called "grains" or crystallites. The
nature of the grains (i.e. grain size and composition) is one of the most effective factors that can
determine the overall mechanical behavior of the metal. Heat treatment provides an efficient way
to manipulate the properties of the metal by controlling the rate of diffusion and the rate of
cooling within the microstructure. Heat treating is often used to alter the mechanical properties
of a metallic alloy, manipulating properties such as the hardness, strength, toughness, ductility,
and elasticity.

There are two mechanisms that may change an alloy's properties during heat treatment: the
formation of martensite causes the crystals to deform intrinsically, and the diffusion mechanism
causes changes in the homogeneity of the alloy.

The crystal structure consists of atoms that are grouped in a very specific arrangement, called a
lattice. In most elements, this order will rearrange itself, depending on conditions like
temperature and pressure. This rearrangement, called allotropy or polymorphism, may occur
several times, at many different temperatures for a particular metal. In alloys, this rearrangement
may cause an element that will not normally dissolve into the base metal to suddenly become
soluble, while a reversal of the allotropy will make the elements either partially or completely
insoluble.When in the soluble state, the process of diffusion causes the atoms of the dissolved
element to spread out, attempting to form a homogenous distribution within the crystals of the
base metal. If the alloy is cooled to an insoluble state, the atoms of the dissolved constituents
(solutes) may migrate out of the solution. This type of diffusion, called precipitation, leads to
nucleation, where the migrating atoms group together at the grain-boundaries. This forms a
microstructure generally consisting of two or more distinct phases.
Steel that has been cooled slowly, for instance, forms a laminated structure composed of
alternating layers of ferrite and cementite, becoming soft pearlite. Unlike iron-based alloys, most
heat treatable alloys do not experience a ferrite transformation. In these alloys, the nucleation at
the grain-boundaries often reinforces the structure of the crystal matrix. These metals harden by
precipitation. Typically a slow process, depending on temperature, this is often referred to as
"age hardening".Many metals and non-metals exhibit a martensite transformation when cooled
quickly. When a metal is cooled very quickly, the insoluble atoms may not be able to migrate out
of the solution in time. This is called a "diffusionless transformation." When the crystal matrix
changes to its low temperature arrangement, the atoms of the solute become trapped within the
lattice. The trapped atoms prevent the crystal matrix from completely changing into its low
temperature allotrope, creating shearing stresses within the lattice. When some alloys are cooled
quickly, such as steel, the martensite transformation hardens the metal, while in others, like
aluminum, the alloy becomes softer.
Normalizing is a technique used to provide uniformity in grain size and composition throughout
an alloy. The term is often used for ferrous alloys that have been austenitized and then cooled in
open air. Normalizing not only produces pearlite, but also bainite sometimes martensite, which
gives harder and stronger steel, but with less ductility for the same composition than full
annealing.Stress relieving is a technique to remove or reduce the internal stresses created in a

These stresses may be caused in a number of ways, ranging from cold working to non-uniform
cooling. Stress relieving is usually accomplished by heating a metal below the lower critical
temperature and then cooling uniformly.Some metals are classified as precipitation hardening
metals. When a precipitation hardening alloy is quenched, its alloying elements will be trapped
in solution, resulting in a soft metal. Aging a "solutionized" metal will allow the alloying
elements to diffuse through the microstructure and form intermetallic particles. These
intermetallic particles will nucleate and fall out of solution and act as a reinforcing phase,
thereby increasing the strength of the alloy. Alloys may age "naturally" meaning that the
precipitates form at room temperature, or they may age "artificially" when precipitates only form
at elevated temperatures. In some applications, naturally aging alloys may be stored in a freezer
to prevent hardening until after further operations - assembly of rivets, for example, may be
easier with a softer part.

Examples of precipitation hardening alloys include 2000 series, 6000 series, and 7000 series
aluminium alloy, as well as some superalloys and some stainless steels. Steels that harden by
aging are typically referred to as maraging steels, from a combination of the term "martensite
Quenching is a process of cooling a metal at a rapid rate. This is most often done to produce a
martensite transformation. In ferrous alloys, this will often produce a harder metal, while non-
ferrous alloys will usually become softer than normal.

To harden by quenching, a metal (usually steel or cast iron) must be heated above the upper
critical temperature and then quickly cooled. Depending on the alloy and other considerations
(such as concern for maximum hardness vs. cracking and distortion), cooling may be done with
forced air or other gases, (such as nitrogen). Liquids may be used, due to their better thermal
conductivity, such as oil, water, a polymer dissolved in water, or a brine. Upon being rapidly
cooled, a portion of austenite (dependent on alloy composition) will transform to martensite, a
hard, brittle crystalline structure. The quenched hardness of a metal depends on its chemical
composition and quenching method. Cooling speeds, from fastest to slowest, go from fresh
water, brine, polymer (i.e. mixtures of water + glycol polymers), oil, and forced air. However,
quenching a certain steel too fast can result in cracking, which is why high-tensile steels such as
AISI 4140 should be quenched in oil, tool steels such as ISO 1.2767 or H13 hot work tool steel
should be quenched in forced air, and low alloy or medium-tensile steels such as XK1320 or
AISI 1040 should be quenched in brine.

However, most non-ferrous metals, like alloys of copper, aluminum, or nickel, and some high
alloy steels such as austenitic stainless steel (304, 316), produce an opposite effect when these
are quenched: they soften. Austenitic stainless steels must be quenched to become fully corrosion
resistant, as they work-harden significantly.
Main article: Tempering (metallurgy)
Untempered martensitic steel, while very hard, is too brittle to be useful for most applications. A
method for alleviating this problem is called tempering. Most applications require that quenched
parts be tempered. Tempering consists of heating steel below the lower critical temperature,
(often from 400 to 1105 F or 205 to 595 C, depending on the desired results), to impart some
toughness. Higher tempering temperatures (may be up to 1,300 F or 700 C, depending on the
alloy and application) are sometimes used to impart further ductility, although some yield
strength is lost.

Tempering may also be performed on normalized steels. Other methods of tempering consist of
quenching to a specific temperature, which is above the martensite start temperature, and then
holding it there until pure bainite can form or internal stresses can be relieved. These include
austempering and martempering.

Steel that has been freshly ground or polished will form oxide layers when heated. At a very
specific temperature, the iron oxide will form a layer with a very specific thickness, causing thin-
film interference. This causes colors to appear on the surface of the steel. As temperature is
increased, the iron oxide layer grows in thickness, changing the color.[19] These colors, called
tempering colors, have been used for centuries to gauge the temperature of the metal. At around
350F (176C) the steel will start to take on a very light, yellowish hue. At 400F (204C), the
steel will become a noticeable light-straw color, and at 440F (226C), the color will become
dark-straw. At 500F (260C), steel will turn brown, while at 540F (282C) it will turn purple.
At 590F (310C) the steel turns a very deep blue, but at 640F (337C) it becomes a rather light
The tempering colors can be used to judge the final properties of the tempered steel. Very hard
tool steel is often tempered in the light to dark straw range, whereas spring steel is often
tempered to the blue. However, the final hardness of the tempered steel will vary, depending on
the composition of the steel. The oxide film will also increase in thickness over time. Therefore,
steel that has been held at 400F for a very long time may turn brown or purple, even though the
temperature never exceeded that needed to produce a light straw color. Other factors affecting
the final outcome are oil films on the surface and the type of heat source used.
Apex grinding
Hydrostatic sideways technology using in the internal grinder machine tool industry is a sign of
progress, the movement precision internal grinder rail and work life directly affects the accuracy
and life circle.Using hydrostatic bearing technology can satisfy the rails in sports and life
requirements, so the hydraulic systems and hydrostatic sideways plays a very important role.

Internal Grinder hydrostatic sideways is injecting the oil which has a certain pressure into the
chamber through the throttle loose between the rail surfaces, which forms the line into carrying
the film, this film separates the two metal surfaces in contact with each other, will friction sliding
surface of the solid contact to liquid friction. The control wheel feed grinder cross slide table and
work out all the hydrostatic guides, guide rails using a combination of horizontal slide rails round
of peace. The cell guide is a closed hydrostatic sideways, so essentially low-speed linear motion
hydrostatic bearing. A circular rail, which serves as a guide supporting role, but also cater to the
differential feed cylinder piston.
Valves are widely used in refrigerator compressors and other important equipment, and is one of
the more critical parts.The end surfaces of the valve plate processing, there are many difficulties
have been.Over the years, domestic mill use more general level twice the processing, not only
low precision machining, surface roughness is poor, and low productivity, the machine operator
is also more cumbersome.
Due to the irregular shape of the air conditioning compressor valves and two grinding area
ranging thicker workpieces, thus causing the grinding and feeding of difficulty:
1. Since the cylinder head grinding area ranging from two and a continuous surface side, the
other side only a few bosses, are erratic, ranging surface grinding, so causing the partial collapse
of the workpiece at the exit, causing the collapse angle.
2. The cylinder head of the workpiece is thick, to enter within the workpiece feeding
cassette that short period of time the tray has been rotated a certain angle, the material is very
3. Very irregular outer shape of the workpiece support, and only a few projections.
Because of the air conditioning compressor valve plate processing over processing difficulties, I
now take the following measures to double its air conditioning compressor valve face grinder:
Double face grinding wheel turning to reverse, so that the grinding forces cancel each other out
1. Double face grinding wheel to adjust the angle, to emphasize the vertical angle, and then
tune the horizontal angle to eliminate the phenomenon of collapse angle workpiece.
2. Pina coolant flow control, in order to reduce the impact on the workpiece
3. Feeding the use of best counterweight. In addition, the choice of wheel model is also very
Shot blast cleaning machine
What is Shot Blasting?
Shot blasting is a technique used for the purpose of surface finishing. Fortunately, it is a dust-free
alternative and also saves on time and labor. With shot blasting there are none of the hassles
associated with other methods used for surface preparation and you do not have to worry about
expensive disposal procedures. In fact, shot blasting is fast becoming the preferred method
among coating manufacturers since it produces great bonding characteristics that reduce
instances of coating failure and increases floor life. Shot blasting is also used to remove scale,
burrs, graffiti and rust from any surface.

How Does It Work?
The main principle of shot blasting lies in propelling a controlled stream of abrasive shot
material rapidly towards the surface being targeted. At the heart of the shot blasting system lies a
blast wheel. As the wheel rotates at high speed, the metallic abrasive (also known as media) is
channelized to its center, from where it is accelerated and hurled in the direction of the surface
being prepared. The contaminants as well as the media rebound into a separation system that
contains a dust collector. The function of the dust collector is to remove the dust, contaminants
and any media that has been pulverized. The remaining media can be recycled by returning it to
the storage hopper for future use.
Hardness testing
Hardness Testing Part 1
Job Knowledge
The hardness of a material can have a number of meanings depending upon the context, which in
the case of metals generally means the resistance to indentation. There are a number of test
methods of which only the Brinell, Vickers and portable hardness testing will be covered in this

Brinell Hardness Test

The Brinell test was devised by a Swedish researcher at the beginning of the 20th century. The
test comprises forcing a hardened steel ball indentor into the surface of the sample using a
standard load as shown in Fig.1(a). The diameter/load ratio is selected to provide an impression
of an acceptable diameter. The ball may be 10, 5 or 1mm in diameter, the load may be 3000, 750
or 30kgf, The load, P, is related to the diameter, D by the relationship P/D2 and this ratio has
been standardised for different metals in order that test results are accurate and reproducible. For
steel the ratio is 30:1 - for example a 10mm ball can be used with a 3000kgf load or a 1mm ball
with a 30kgf load. For aluminium alloys the ratio is 5:1. The load is applied for a fixed length of
time, usually 30 seconds. When the indentor is retracted two diameters of the impression, d1 and
d2 , are measured using a microscope with a calibrated graticule and then averaged as shown in

The Brinell hardness number (BHN) is found by dividing the load by the surface area of the
impression. There is a somewhat tedious calculation that can be carried out to determine the
hardness number but it is more usual and far simpler to refer to a set of standard tables from
which the Brinell hardness number can be read directly.

The Brinell test is generally used for bulk metal hardness measurements - the impression is
larger than that of the Vickers test and this is useful as it averages out any local heterogeneity
and is affected less by surface roughness. However, because of the large ball diameter the test
cannot be used to determine the hardness variations in a welded joint for which the Vickers test
is preferred. Very hard metals, over 450BHN may also cause the ball to deform resulting in an
inaccurate reading. To overcome this limitation a tungsten carbide ball is used instead of the
hardened steel ball but there is also a hardness limit of 600BHN with this indentor.

Vickers Hardness Test

The Vickers hardness test operates on similar principles to the Brinell test, the major difference
being the use of a square based pyramidal diamond indentor rather than a hardened steel ball.
Also, unlike the Brinell test, the depth of the impression does not affect the accuracy of the
reading so the P/D2 ratio is not important. The diamond does not deform at high loads so the
results on very hard materials are more reliable. The load may range from 1 to 120kgf and is
applied for between 10 and 15 seconds.

The basic principles of operation of the Vickers hardness test are illustrated in Fig.2 where it can
be seen that the load is applied to the indentor by a simple weighted lever. In older machines an
an oil filled dash pot is used as a timing mechanism - on more modern equipment this is done

As illustrated in Fig.3(b) two diagonals, d1 and d2 , are measured, averaged and the surface area
calculated then divided into the load applied. As with the Brinell test the diagonal measurement
is converted to a hardness figure by referring to a set of tables. The hardness may be reported as
Vickers Hardness number (VHN), Diamond Pyramid Number (DPN) or, most commonly, Hvxx
where 'xx' represents the load used during the test.

As mentioned earlier, the Vickers indentation is smaller than the Brinell impression and thus far
smaller areas can be tested, making it possible to carry out a survey across a welded joint,
including individual runs and the heat affected zones. The small impression also means that the
surface must be flat and perpendicular to the indentor and should have a better than 300 grit

Errors in Hardness Testing

There are many factors that can affect the accuracy of the hardness test. Some of these such as
flatness and surface finish have already been mentioned above but it is worth re-emphasising the
point that flatness is most important - a maximum angle of approximately 1 would be
regarded as acceptable.
To achieve the required flatness tolerance and surface finish surface grinding or machining may
be necessary. The correct load must be applied and to achieve this there must be no friction in
the loading system otherwise the impression will be smaller than expected - regular maintenance
and calibration of the machine is therefore essential. The condition of the indentor is crucial -
whilst the Vickers diamond is unlikely to deteriorate with use unless it is damaged or loosened in
its mounting by clumsy handling, the Brinell ball will deform over a period of time and
inaccurate readings will result. This deterioration will be accelerated if a large proportion of the
work is on hard materials. The length of time that the load is applied is important and must be
The specimen dimensions are important - if the test piece is too thin the hardness of the specimen
table will affect the result. As a rule of thumb the specimen thickness should be ten times the
depth of the impression for the Brinell test and twice that of the Vickers diagonal. Similarly, if
the impression is too close to the specimen edge then low hardness values will be recorded -
again as a rule the impression should be some 4 to 5 times the impression diameter from any free
edge. Performing hardness testing on cylindrical surfaces eg pipes and tubes, the radius of
curvature will affect the indentation shape and can lead to errors. It may be necessary to apply a
correction factor - this is covered in an ISO specification, ISO 6507 Part 1.
The specimen table should be rigidly supported and must be in good condition - burrs or raised
edges beneath the sample will give low readings. Impact loading must be avoided. It is very easy
to force the indentor into the specimen surface when raising the table into position. This can
strain the equipment and damage the indentor. Operator training is crucial and regular validation
or calibration is essential if hardness rest results are to be accurate and reproducible.

Hardness Testing Part 2
The previous article dealt with the conventional Vickers and Brinell hardness tests. This second
article reviews micro-hardness and portable hardness testing. The investigation of metallurgical
problems in welds often requires the determination of hardness within a very small area or on
components in service or too large to be able to test in a laboratory environment.
Micro-hardness testing may be carried out using any one of three common methods and, as with
the macro-hardness tests, measure the size of the impression produced by forcing an indentor
into the specimen surface under a dead load, although many of the new test machines use a load
cell system.

The three most common tests are the Knoop test, the Vickers test and the ultrasonic micro-
hardness test.

The Knoop test uses a pyramidal indentor that gives an elongated diamond shaped impression
with an aspect ratio of around 7:1, the Vickers test uses the pyramidal indentor described in the
previous article (January/February 2005).

The Knoop test is rarely used in Europe where the Vickers test is the preferred method. The
loads used for the tests vary from 1gmf to 1kgf and produce impressions that need to be
measured by using a microscope with magnifications of up to 100X, although modern machines
may be equipped with an image analysis system that enables the process to be automated.

The ultrasonic hardness test does not rely upon measuring the size of an impression. Instead, the
test uses a Vickers diamond attached to the end of a metal rod. The rod is vibrated at its natural
frequency by a piezoelectric converter and then brought into contact with the specimen surface
under a small load. The resonant frequency is changed by the size of the impression produced
and this change can be measured and converted to a hardness value.

The size of the impression is extremely small and the test may be regarded as non-destructive
since it is non-damaging in most applications.

The micro-hardness test has a number of applications varying from being a metallurgical
research tool to a method of quality control. The test may be used to determine the hardness of
different micro-constituents in a metal, as shown in Fig.1. Where an impression would be
damaging, for instance on a finished product, micro-hardness tests, particularly the ultrasonic
test, may be used for quality control purposes. Micro-hardness testing also finds application in
the testing of thin foils, case hardened items and decarburised components.

Portable hardness tests may be used where the component is too large to be taken to the testing
machine or in on-site applications. It is useful on-site, for example, for checking that the correct
heat treatment has been carried out on welded items or that welded joints comply with the
hardness limits specified by NACE for sour service. There are three principal methods - dynamic
rebound, Brinell or Vickers indentation or ultrasonic testing.

The Leeb hardness test uses dynamic rebound where a hammer is propelled into the test piece
surface and the height of the rebound is measured. This gives a measure of the elasticity of the
material and hence its hardness.

This type of test is typified by the 'Equotip' test, Fig.2, a trademark of Proceq SA. The Equotip
tester comprises a hand-held tube that contains a spring loaded hammer. The device is cocked by
compressing the hammer against the spring, the device is then positioned vertically on the test
surface and the release button is pressed. The hammer strikes the surface, rebounds and the result
displayed digitally. Generally the average of five readings is taken.

To obtain a valid result, the position of the device, the flatness of the surface and the flexibility
of the component all affect the accuracy of the results. Needless to say the skill and experience of
the operator is one of the key factors in producing accurate hardness figures. The results are
generally converted to give a hardness in Vickers or Brinell units.

The other type of portable hardness test in common use is the ultrasonic method described above.
Commercially available machines are typified by the Microdur unit supplied by GE Inspection
Technologies as shown in Fig.3. This type of equipment is electronically based and can be
programmed to give hardness readings of any type - Vickers, Brinell, or Rockwell. Needless to
say, any of these methods of hardness testing require regular calibration of the equipment, fully
trained operators and well prepared surfaces.
Although there are several different methods of hardness testing the results can be compared and
converted. The ASTM specification E140 contains conversion tables for metals - ferritic and
austenitic steels, nickel alloys, copper and brass- for converting Vickers to Brinell or Rockwell
or vice versa.

To end this article on hardness testing let us look at the significance of the results.

Hardness is related to tensile strength - multiplying the Vickers hardness number of a carbon
steel by 3.3 will give the approximate ultimate tensile strength in N/mm2 . A hardness traverse
across a weld and its HAZs will therefore reveal how the tensile strength varies. In carbon or low
alloy steels a hardness of above approximately 380HV suggests that the hard brittle
microstructure, martensite, has been formed leading to the possibility of cold cracking during
fabrication or brittle fracture in service. This fact has been recognised in the specification EN
ISO 15614 Part 1 so that a maximum hardness of 380HV is permitted on a hardness traverse of a
macro-section from a carbon steel procedure qualification test.
Ultrasonic Testing
Ultrasonic Testing (UT) uses high frequency sound energy to conduct examinations and
make measurements. Ultrasonic inspection can be used for flaw detection/evaluation,
dimensional measurements, material characterization, and more. To illustrate the general
inspection principle, a typical pulse/echo inspection configuration as illustrated below will be

A typical UT inspection system consists of several functional units, such as the
pulser/receiver, transducer, and display devices. A pulser/receiver is an electronic device
that can produce high voltage electrical pulses. Driven by the pulser, the transducer
generates high frequency ultrasonic energy. The sound energy is introduced and propagates
through the materials in the form of waves. When there is a discontinuity (such as a crack)
in the wave path, part of the energy will be reflected back from the flaw surface. The
reflected wave signal is transformed into an electrical signal by the transducer and is
displayed on a screen. In the applet below, the reflected signal strength is displayed versus
the time from signal generation to when a echo was received. Signal travel time can be
directly related to the distance that the signal traveled. From the signal, information about
the reflector location, size, orientation and other features can sometimes be gained.