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Thread: Brinell Hardness?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Jeff82's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

    Brinell Hardness?

    I was wondering about how Brinell hardness numbers should be interpreted. For instance, is the numbering linear. So, when comparing a BHN of say 16 to another reading of 20, is the reading of 20 actually 25% harder than the reading of 16? I was comparing two different bullets with the above BHN numbers and the BHN 20 bullets seemed much harder than the BHN 16 bullets, much moreso than I expected.

  2. #2

    Defcon-One's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Virginia, USA
    Not likely!

    As the ball is pressed deeper into the metal the resistance will increase as it is required to displace a greater and greater amount of metal as it progresses. This would lead me to believe that there is not a linear relationshsip between the numbers, (ie. 20 would not be exactly twice as hard as 10).

    These test are comparitive to allow a metal samples hardness to be compared to another samples and reproduced through the exact same testing. Pressure, dwell time and ball size are critical and must be identical for comparison of results between samples.

    I could find nothing on the internet that answered your question at all. I searched on, "Are Brinell Hardness Test Outputs Linear?" and "Is Brinell Hardness Test a Linear scale?".

    However, I am just guessing based on what I know! Good luck!
    Last edited by Defcon-One; 10-17-2012 at 10:30 AM. Reason: Added underline!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Pepe Ray's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    North/central Maine
    I would agree with Defcon-One's conclusion and for the same reasons.
    Pepe Ray
    The way is ONLY through HIM.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    btroj's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Nebraska's oldest city
    More Important than is it linear is how the bullet got that hard.

    A straight Linotype bullet maybe 18 BHn. A 50/50 WW/lead bullet can be heat treated to the same BHN. How they behave is very different. The linotype bullet is brittle and could fracture on impact. The 50/50 heat treated bullet can expand easily yet hold together.

    BHn alone is not the entire story. It is A measure of bullet strength/ behavior but many other things are important too.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

    williamwaco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Dallas Texas
    It is most definitely not linear . . .

    First reload: .22 Hornet. 1956.
    More at:

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    government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian."
    - Henry Ford

  6. #6
    Boolit Master mehavey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Since Brinell numbers are literally the metal's yield strength in "pounds per square inch", they ARE linear.
    Double the brinell number and you have double the strength ("hardness") of the alloy.

    (If you don't believe this, check the chart HERE )

    The only thing that all the "squares & square root" terms do in the Brinell equation is convert the diameter
    of the impression made by the steel ball into spherical surface area.

    Last edited by mehavey; 10-19-2012 at 02:47 PM.

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