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How Do We Know The Hardness Of A Pan?

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frying pan

frying pan

1. The material composition of the pan

"Ever wonder about the materials which came together to make up your toxic-free non-stick frying pan?

Most people are more concerned about the content in the pan and rarely worry about the quality or constituent materials used in the manufacture of the pan.

However, manufacturers and the metal industry regulators are particular about the composition and the quality of the materials used in the manufacture of metal products like the pan. The quality of these metals determines properties like the hardness of the final product made from these metals.

In the past, the popular materials used for making pans included metals like tin-lined copper, cast iron, and carbon steel. These materials enjoyed popularity due to their advantageous properties like thermal conductivity in copper, heat retention for cast iron, and non-stick properties for carbon steel.

Nonetheless, other materials have taken the stage as the most modern and widely used for making pans. Also, materials like stainless steel are preferred based on their ability to remain rust-free and their thermal conductivity properties.

Aluminum is another modern alternative material used in pan making. A thin layer of non-stick material is used to coat these materials to increase their efficiency and durability over their years of use.

2. How do we do the hardness test?

When determining the hardness value of a pan, a suitable hardness method or hardness testing machine is employed.

Some parameters will need confirmation to ascertain the best hardness test for the pan. These parameters will include the material of the pan as some materials are more challenging than others. Also, the homogeneity as some materials forms the coating for other materials to achieve specific properties.

The size of the sample and the anticipated accuracy are also vital to choose the testing method for the pan samples.

However, most pan samples have a large surface and will often require some mounting. Hence, a Brinell hardness tester is typically adequate.

For the Brinell test, an indentation ball made of tungsten carbide is the standard. The indentation left on the test sample is usually large since the ball diameter is also large - generally between 1mm and 10mm. The load applied is also relatively large when compared with other forms of testing. These loads range from 1kgf to 3000kgf.

Finally, the indentation left after applying the load is measured using an optical device attached to the Brinell testing unit and the values are compared to standard indexed values.


3. Methods and principle of hardness test

The hardness property of materials relies on how easy it is to deform the material. The two general forms of getting a material deformed are either scratching the surface of the material or using an indenter to cause an indentation on the material.

However, the most widely used method of the two mentioned above is the indentation method which uses an indenter usually acting with a standard weight as an indentation force.

Different forms of indentation methods also exist based on the result to be achieved or the material to be tested.

These indentation methods include the Vickers Hardness test, Brinell Hardness test, and Rockwell Hardness test.

The Brinell Hardness test, along with the Rockwell hardness test, is often classified as a macro-indentation test and is used in testing the hardness of both hard and soft materials, including aluminum, copper, steel, and non-ferrous materials like glass and wood. Its main advantage is its ability to accurately measure the hardness of non-homogenous and composite materials that have varying properties. 

The Vickers hardness tests often come under the micro-indentation hardness testing. This category is based on the type of load used to cause the indentation when using these methods. Loads applied fall between 1 to 1000gf, but typically, 200gf is used. It has the advantage of not being a destructive form of testing since its indentation is tiny.


4. Conclusion

But what do these all mean? It all means that you can assess properties like strength and elasticity for your pan and ascertain its resistance to wear, tear and other external forces that reduce its lifespan.

The ability to measure the hardness of your pans can also give you an insight that helps you improve the quality of the pans you manufacture. It also enables you to guarantee your clients quality products to make them continue to purchase your pan.

The hardness value is essential for users to make an informed decision based on the intended use of the pan as a pan with a small hardness number can mean low abrasion resistance and might not be suitable for heavy usage.

Also, selecting the best hardness tester machine or hardness testing method is critical to accurately assessing the quality of the pan. Choosing the wrong testing method or equipment can lead to an incorrect result which can, in turn, lead to making the wrong purchase decision for your clients.

Hence, finding the right manufacturer of hardness testing machines is vital and will save you the stress of trial and error and cost savings critical to your company’s profitability. A supplier of hardness testing machines with a proven track record will also save you production time that you could have lost.