Dr. J. A. Brinell invented the Brinell test in Sweden in 1900. The oldest of the hardness test methods in common use today, the Brinell test is frequently used to determine the hardness of forgings and castings that have a grain structure too course for Rockwell or Vickers testing. Therefore, Brinell tests are frequently done on large parts. By varying the test force and ball size, nearly all metals can be tested using a Brinell test. Brinell values are considered test force independent as long as the ball size/test force relationship is the same.
In the USA, Brinell testing is typically done on iron and steel castings using a 3000Kg test force and a 10mm diameter carbide ball. Aluminum and other softer alloys are frequently tested using a 500Kg test force and a 10 or 5mm carbide ball. Therefore the typical range of Brinell testing in this country is 500 to 3000kg with 5 or 10mm carbide balls. In Europe Brinell testing is done using a much wider range of forces and ball sizes. It’s common in Europe to perform Brinell tests on small parts using a 1mm carbide ball and a test force as low as 1kg. These low load tests are commonly referred to as baby Brinell tests.