The Brinell hardness test method as used to determine Brinell hardness, is defined in ASTM E10. Most commonly it is used to test materials that have a structure that is too coarse or that have a surface that is too rough to be tested using another test method, e.g., castings and forgings. Brinell testing often use a very high test load (3000 kgf) and a 10mm diameter indenter so that the resulting indentation averages out most surface and sub-surface inconsistencies.
The Brinell method applies a predetermined test load (F) to a carbide ball of fixed diameter (D) which is held for a predetermined time period and then removed. The resulting impression is measured with a specially designed Brinell microscope or optical system across at least two diameters – usually at right angles to each other and these results are averaged (d). Although the calculation below can be used to generate the Brinell number, most often a chart is then used to convert the averaged diameter measurement to a Brinell hardness number.