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The hardness of aluminum alloys isn�t used directly in structural design, but
since it�s relatively easy to measure, it�s frequently reported. Hardness can be
measured by several methods, including Webster hardness (ASTM B647),
Barcol hardness (ASTM B648), Newage hardness (ASTM B724), Vickers
hardness, and Rockwell hardness (ASTM E18). The Brinnell hardness
(ASTM E10) for a 500 kg load on a 10 mm ball is used most often and is
given in the Aluminum Design Manual, Part V, Table 5 [5M]. Hardness measurements
are sometimes used for quality-assurance purposes on temper. The
Brinnell hardness number (BHN) multiplied by 0.56 is approximately equal
to the ultimate tensile strength (Ftu) in ksi; this relationship can be useful to
help identify material or estimate its strength based on a simple hardness test.
The relationship between hardness and strength, however, is not as dependable
for aluminum as for steel. Hardness measurements are sometimes used to
measure the effect on strength at various points in the heat-affected zone
across a weld.
Typical hardness values for some common alloy tempers are given in Table
Properties other than mechanical properties are usually referred to under the
catch-all heading of ��physical properties.�� The significant ones for structural
engineers include density and coefficient of thermal expansion. These properties
vary among aluminum alloys; they�re given to three significant figure
accuracy in the Aluminum Design Manual, Part V. Often, however, the variations
between alloys aren�t large enough to matter for structural engineering
TABLE 4.2 Typical Hardness Values
Alloy Temper
Typical Brinnell Hardness
(500 kg load 10 mm ball)
1100-H14 32
2014-T6 135
3003-H16 47
5005-H34 41
5052-H32 60
5454-H32 73
6061-T6 95
6063-T5 60
6063-T6 73
6101-T6 71