Measures the bulk hardness of the material. There are separate scales for ferrous metals, nonferrous metals, and plastics. Common Rockwell hardness scales include A, B,C and F for metals and M and R for polymers

Superficial Rockwell Hardness Testing is more surface-sensitive measurement of hardness than regular Rockwell scales. This technique is useful for testing thin samples, samples with hardness gradients at the surface, and small areas. Superficial Rockwell hardness scales are N and T for metals and W, X and Y for nonmetallic materials and soft coatings.


The Rockwell hardness test is often used as a ‘quick test’ on the production floor or in the laboratory, mainly for metallic materials.


The typical applications are:

  • Quality control for metal heat treatment 
  • Incoming material inspection
  • Weld evaluations in steels and other alloys 
  • Grade verification for hard plastics Failure analysis 

However, it can also be used for more advanced tests, such as the Jominy test (End Quench Test). Due to the relatively high loads used, application of the Rockwell hardness test is generally limited to larger sample geometries.

The Rockwell hardness test calculation (HR) is made by measuring the depth of an indentation made with a diamond or tungsten carbide ball.

The Rockwell hardness test at a glance:

  • Generally used for larger samples 
  • No optical readout
  • Can be used for advanced tests
  • Standards: ASTM E18, ISO 6508 and JIS Z 2245



Hardness testing is key in most quality control procedures. That’s why we provide a complete range of Rockwell hardness testing machines and accessories, from equipment for lab application of hardness testing up to heavy-duty hardness testers for large-scale production sites. 

Analysis contact

Martin Juliš, Ph.D.
Martin Juliš, Ph.D.
Senior Researcher
Personal Profile


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