The Shore Hardness Scale is the international standard for measuring the hardness of rubber, plastic, and many non-metallic materials. Hardness, measured on a Shore A or D scale, is a material’s resistance to surface penetration. Knowing a material’s hardness can help you select the right material for a certain application.
How Do You Measure a Material’s Hardness?
The shore hardness tests are performed by creating an indentation on the plastic or rubber with a gauge called a Durometer. The Durometer is pressed down on the sample perpendicularly and a spring loaded presser-foot makes contact with the sample. The gauge measures the resistance of the sample as it deforms. The A and D Scale use different shaped presser-foots and spring tensions because softer materials will deform easier than harder materials.
What Materials Utilize the Shore Hardness Scale?
The Shore Hardness Scale is used on a vast array of products. Here is a sampling:
- Chewing gum
- Tire treads
- Hard hats
- Urethane plastic
- Semi-rigid and hard plastics
Why Does the Shore Hardness Scale Matter?
When planning a project, it’s important to understand the utility of the plastic or rubber you’ll be using. Soft rubber flooring or cushion for a windowpane needs to have some ‘give,’ and the Shore Hardness Scale will provide a measurement to indicate its strength or how it will conform to another surface. In some applications, you’ll need rigid plastic for load-bearing or structural necessity like an electronic housing. Each material should be chosen wisely for installation to optimize the efficacy and safety of the project.
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