SMT-5000 Microindentation Tester


Instrumented Micro indenter with scratch tester and in-line 3D profilometer. Measure a surface’s microhardness, modulus, roughness, adhesion, and film thickness. Highest accuracy and repeatability on one tester.

3D Microhardness Tester Overview

Main Features

  • Widest Range mN to 40N on one head.
  • Both indentation and scratch with the same head.
  • Piezo and capacitive based for high precision.
  • Patented image correlation between data and 3D images.
  • In-line 3D Profiler to quantify cracks, pileups, defects, roughness, and position.
What is microindentation hardness testing?

Microindentation hardness testing (or microhardness testing) is a method to measure the hardness, modulus, and several other properties of a material on a microscopic scale.

Our Surface Mechanical Tester SMT-5000 combines piezo actuation and capacitive sensing technologies. The micro indentation head – IST brings the highest precision measurements, from nano to micron ranges. In addition, the SMT-5000 merges the ability to measure mechanical properties. Such as, hardness, modulus, scratch adhesion, film thickness, surface roughness, 3D imaging, and many others.

Besides the IST module, the SMT-5000 incorporates environmental modules (temperature, humidity, corrosion). All these capabilities of the SMT-5000 provide the use of microindentation for quality control. Or cater to demanding engineers and researchers in many fields.

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    micro indenter force sensor


    Microindentation Tester

    Automatic load and displacement curves, Hardness (Traditional and instrumented), Elastic Modulus, Creep, and many more calculations.

    • Microindentation + scratch test combination head from mN to 40 N
    • Piezo controlled actuator for both Indentation and scratch mode
    • Multi dimension capacitive force measurements

    A Microhardness Tester Like No Other

    The SMT-5000 is customizable and provides reliable microhardness and modulus analysis. Clear results every time.

    Vickers indent by micro indenter
    Automatic Microhardness Indentation 3D Image Using In-line Universal Profilometer
    PMMA and HRC block indentation data from rtec instruments micro indenter

    Indenters and Scratch Mode

    Click of a button run (indent + 3D image + scratch) 

    Load Profiles: constant, linear, or user-defined applied load profiles. Measure the normal force and resulting friction forces using precise NIST traceable sensors.

    Indenters: Berkovich, Balls, Cube Corner, Conical-Spherical, Knife, Knoop, Vickers, and more diamond indenters.

    scratch and indenter tips

    Scratch Testing

    Characterize coating adhesion, mar resistance, hardness, and more.

    Sensors and Chambers

    Application specific solutions

    Environmental chambers and a variety of sensors create numerous microindentation and scratch test variations that replicate real-life scenarios.

    Electrical Contact Resistance

    Identifies the coating failure point via the measure of the electrical resistance change.

    Acoustic Emission

    Spot brittle material failures by measuring the shock vibrations.

    Corrosion Setup

    Study effect of corrosion material properties.

    Environmental Chambers

    Temperature, Humidity, and More.

    Rtec-Instruments Micro Indentation Computer Software Analysis

    High Accuracy, easy to use, automatic reporting, and ASTM and ISO compliant. Simply load a recipe and click start. The software provides unequaled stability, precision, and insight.

    The Microindenter Solution

    Our SMT-5000 microhardness tester is used extensively across a wide range of industries:

    • Thermal Spray Coatings
    • Turbine, engine, components
    • Anti corrosive coatings
    • Marr Resistance 
    • Thermal Spray Coatings
    • DLC
    • Paints
    • Bio compatible coatings
    • Medical devices
    • Joints
    • Valves, pumps
    • Ceramic coatings
    • Bulk materials
    Hard Coating
    • Cutting tools
    • Thermal spray
    • DLC
    • Bulk Materials
    • Coatings
    • Textured surfaces
    Optics and Glasses
    • Lenses
    • Touch screen
    • Consumer goods
    • Coatings on tablet
    • Marr resistance
    • Coating
    • Bulk materials
    • Screens
    • Thin coatings
    • Protective coatings
    • Consumer goods

    What is a Microindentation Tester?

    The Rtec Instrument microindentation tester (or microhardness tester) measures hardness, elastic modulus, and many others at a microscopic scale. Read more below on how the SMT-5000 answers common microindentation testing questions.


    What Is Instrumented Indentation testing?

    Instrumented Indentation Testing (IIT) involves pressing an indenter of known geometry into a surface while controlling and measuring the force and displacement. The resulting load-displacement curves are used to calculate hardness and elastic modulus among other things.

    How is hardness measured in indentation?

    Hardness is defined as a contact pressure (Force by contact area).

    Traditional hardness tests use the maximum force applied on the tip and the visual measurement of the size of the imprint left into the material (after removal of the force) to calculate Hardness values.

    IIT also uses the maximum force applied on the tip, but calculates the true cross-sectional area of contact between the tip and the material at the point of maximum force

    What is the difference between IIT and traditional hardness tests?

    Traditional hardness tests provide only one characteristic: hardness. Furthermore, most hardness tests rely on the optical observation and measurement of an indent under a microscope. This often creates uncertainty and operator error due to the different magnifications available on the microscope.

    Why IIT is Different

    IIT brings additional information about the material. Such as the elastic modulus, that the conventional hardness could not measure. Additionally, the direct calculations of the area used for Hardness in IIT eliminate the possible errors introduced by users. It instead measures the imprint optically rather than traditional hardness tests. Finally, the use of much lower forces in IIT allows for the investigation of much smaller volumes of materials. This opens the ability to measure coatings independently from their substrate.

    How is modulus measured using IIT?

    Elastic modulus is the ability of a material to “bounce back” after applying stress. By its control and recording of force and displacement, IIT can provide the elastic modulus of the material tested by studying the unloading portion of the test. After the maximum force is applied to the material, the test’s unloading portion represents the material’s elastic response. A fitting of the unloading curve accompanied by using different models yields the value of the elastic modulus.

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