Select a category below


The Brinell Test

The Brinell test (named after Swedish scientist Johan August Brinell) was originally designed to test the hardness of metals by pressing a 10mm steel ball against the test object and then calculating the area of indentation. The Brinell hardness number is a function of the test force divided by the curved surface area of the indent. The indentation is considered to be spherical with a radius equal to half the diameter of the ball.


This method has now been adapted for wooden floors whereby a steel ball is pressed against the wood at a load of 100kg. The hardness of the wood is given by the Brinell hardness number or BHN. The higher the number, the harder the wood floor. The force is maintained for a specific dwell time, normally 10 ­ 15 seconds. After the dwell time is complete, the indenter is removed leaving a round indent in the sample. The size of the indent is determined optically by measuring two diagonals of the round indent using either a portable microscope or one that is integrated with the load application device. The Brinell number, which normally ranges from HB 50 to HB 750 for metals, will increase as the sample gets harder. Below is a table showing the Brinell hardness number for some of the more common species of wood . These values will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer because each manufacturer uses their own, often different, source of raw timber. However it should give you an idea of which kind of floors are tough and indent resistant to be used as wooden floors.

Brinell Chart