Mechanical testing and heat treatments

Mechanical testing and heat treatments

Mechanical Testing

Tensile Testing

  • Tensile testing involves applying a force to a material until it breaks or fractures.
  • This test provides information about the strength and ductility of the material.
  • Two values obtained from this test are the ultimate tensile strength (highest stress a material can withstand before it breaks) and yield strength (stress at which a material will deform permanently).

Compression Testing

  • Compression testing is measuring the ability of a material to withstand forces that decrease its size.
  • This test is important for materials used in applications where they will be subjected to high compression forces, like in structural and civil engineering.

Hardness Testing

  • Hardness testing measures the resistance of a material to deformation, penetration, scratching, or cutting.
  • The Brinell, Rockwell, and Vickers scales are commonly used to measure hardness.
  • Hardness offers an indication of toughness or strength of a material, as well as its resistance to wear.

Impact Testing

  • Impact Testing determines the amount of energy absorbed by a material during fracture.
  • Gives information on a material’s toughness, which is crucial when considering materials that may undergo sudden stresses or impacts.

Heat Treatments


  • Annealing is a heat treatment process used to alter the physical and chemical properties of a material.
  • It’s used to increase ductility, reduce hardness, and relieve internal stresses.
  • It involves heating a material to a specific temperature, then cooling slowly.


  • Quenching involves heating the material and then rapidly cooling it in water, oil, or some other non-reactive fluid.
  • This process increases the hardness and strength of the material.


  • Tempering is usually performed after quenching and is done to reduce the brittleness induced by quenching.
  • The process involves heating the material to a temperature below its critical point for a certain period of time, then allowing it to cool.
  • This results in increased toughness and ductility, but a slight decrease in hardness.

Case Hardening

  • Case hardening involves hardening only the surface of a material, leaving the inner part soft and tough.
  • Common methods of case hardening include carburizing, nitriding, and cyaniding.
  • This process is often applied in components where a wear-resistant surface is needed, but a tough core is required to withstand the impacts and stresses of operation.