Sean Malloy serves as Product Applications Specialist for Tinius Olsen Testing Machine Co. in Horsham, Pa.

Sean joined the company in 2011 and brought his years of industrial experience with him. Sean was hired specifically to support our new hardness testing equipment product line and has been through months of intensive training and is ready to answer your questions.




Shawn Byrd is a Technical Manager at Tinius Olsen Testing Machine Co. in Horsham, Pa. Shawn is also a member of the Tinius Olsen M.A G. or Market Analysis Group, which has responsibility for market analysis in relation to Tinius Olsen’s position in the marketplace. Shawn is a member of the following ASTM International Committees, D30 on Composite materials, E28 on Mechanical Testing and F16 on Fasteners. These groups have over 900 members combined and are responsible for 204 standards. Shawn is also involved with ASTM working on collaborative projects with colleges and professional industries. Shawn has been involved in testing labs in the US, China, India and Singapore. During his tenure in the US Navy, Shawn completed his degree in Electrical Engineering.  Shawn has completed studies in both the mechanical and material science arenas as well. Shawn has completed and taken part in numerous Nadcap, A2LA and ISO audits.  As a technical manager at Tinius Olsen Shawn focuses on materials testing and the application of various standards to different testing platforms to assist in the evaluation of materials and products.


  • Testing Hardness FAQ
  • Can I use a carbide ball indenter on a block that wasn't calibrated with a carbide ball?


    Yes, you can but your reading will be lower, up to 1 point lower than normal.

  • How do I know when to replace my test block?


    Here are a few things that will help you decide when to replace your test block

    1. Signs of rust or oxidation
    2. Space - not enough room to perform an indentation (Distance from indentations 2 to 3 times the diameter of the indentation, based on the ASTM/ISO standard block was calibrated to)
    3. Under carriage of test block being marred (top side of test blocks should only be used for indentations)
    4. Dropping the test block on the floor.
    5. Surface is no longer the same finish as originally provided. (test blocks should not be refinished/reserfaced)

    Certified test blocks are an efficiant way of checking the accuracy of your machine. With daily use of test blocks, it is possible to determine issues with your machine prior to compromising test samples.

  • If I'm not sure of the hardness of a material. What Rockwell scale should I use?


    If the sample is very thin, start with HR30N. If the sample is thick, try the HRA scale. Both scales use a diamond indenter. It is difficult to damage a diamond indenter. You can adjust the scale based on your results. A Hardness Conversion chart will assit you with adjusting to another scale based on the initial results. Information regarding the hardness chart can be found ASTM E-18. Contact ASTM on the WEB at http://www.astm.org or by asking your loacel Tinius Olsen rep for our wall posters of conversion charts.

  • What would assist me in choosing between Vickers or Knoop testing?


    The Vickers indenter is a diamond ground to the shape of a square based pyramid with an angle of 136 degrees between faces. The depth of the indent it makes is about 1/7 of its diagonal length. The Vickers indenter penetrates about twice as far into the specimen as the Knoop indenter. Therefore, the Vickers test is less sensitive to surface conditions than the Knoop test. Because the indent is influenced less by the flatness and parallelism of the top and bottom specimen surfaces and their finish, it can be used on materials that are not suited for Knoop testing. However, because of the greater depth of the indent, the Vickers test is not as suitable for testing very thin foils and other materials as is the Knoop test. For equal loads, the Vickers indent (because of its shorter length) is more sensitive to errors in measuring the indent.

    If you are trying to decide between Vickers or Knoop testing, you have already made the decision of using a light load/force to perform your test. If you understand how the indenters are designed, making this desicion can be made quickly. The Vickers diamond is a pyramid design with an angle of 136 degrees on all four sides. This design is to penetrate the surface deeper than a knoop indenter. This allows the surface prep to not affect the readings as much as it would a knoop test.

  • Are the ranges the same for every Rockwell Scale?


    At the low hardness end of a ball scale the ball may penetrate too deeply causing the cap to come into contact with a specimen which would damage the cap. In the case of a diamond indenter the sensitivity of the test diminishes as the diamond indenter penetrates further down the conical portion of the diamond. At the high end of the hardness scales, these limits result from the likelihood of fracturing or reducing the life of a diamond indenter such as testing carbide on C scale as opposed to the recommended A scale. A ball indenter is likely to have a flat spot as a result of testing above HRB95.

  • I want to check the hardness of Aluminium ADC12 after the process of High pressure die casting. Let me know the procedure? What is the standard of hardness?


    There are many methods to test this Alloy. The method will be dependent on the size of the sample being tested. You may use Brinell, Vickers, Knoop or Rockwell B (HRB) to test this type of Alloy. The choices above will differ by the load being applied and the penetrator used to determine the hardness. The sample prep and dimensions to help determine the type of test can be found in the methods published by ASTM.

    For the proper method of performing hardness tests, the following standards can be found at www.ASTM.org


    Brinell - ASTM E-10

    Vickers/Knoop - ASTM E-384

    Rockwell - ASTM E-18


  • Testing Metals FAQ
  • How serious an effect does the speed of the test have on resultant tensile data? I'm seeing some variation between results and since I'm using an open loop TO system, speed control seems like its the major variable.


    Hello, I assume you are testing metals? The speed of test may have a big effect depending on what type of material it is. Typically yield is effected with varying speeds. ASTM has specific recommendations for speeds for pre yield and post yield speeds based on the type of material you are testing. If it is an older TO system it may be able to get retrofitted to a new controller. If you are testing plastics in some cases it would make a difference, again ASTM should call out the speed based on what type of material you are testing. Thanks

  • Can Tinius Olsen IT542 meet JIS B7722 and JIS Z2242 requirements?


    Hello, I only have a old (1990 current is 1999) copy of B7722. Yes, the IT542 meets the spirit of B7722, which means the exact numbers are slightly different. For example B7722 is for 500 Joule not 542 Joule machine. If you get the current version, then I can answer you better.

  • Can the Tinius Olsen furnace for electromechanical test machines be used below 600 degrees C?


    For lower Temps please try the following; - TO’s furnace has a standard Temperature uniformity specification: +/- 5 ºC or better over a length of 200mm at temperatures above 650 ºC - Through the TO controller there is a standard 1\\2 power function. This is user selectable and allows the furnace to be used and controlled from approx 400ºC up. The 1\\2 power function prevents wild over and undershoot in the temperature control at lower temperatures. That said temperature control does fall away from the standard +/- 5 ºC to +/- 12 ºC it also limits the maximum temperature which can be achieved and accurately controlled. This function is not available in many competitors furnace offerings. - 600ºC in furnaces at large is a critical point, it is where radiated heat, that glowing red look in the furnace and internal parts occurs and becomes the dominate heat effect as opposed to the dull dark tinge of red below 600ºC where convection heat is the dominate heat effect. The radiated heat state and subsequent “Heat saturation” of the internal furnace and parts is the condition for which furnace controllers at large are designed and perform extremely well. - Working below 600ºC in furnaces at large and below 400ºC using the 1\\2 power function in a TO furnace is not practical. For work at temperatures between ambient and 400ºC a temperature chamber technology is required. Such chambers are designed to work and accurately control temperature under a convection heat condition. Heat saturation of internal chamber parts is not an objective, the heating systems have less power and temperature control is achieved using a circulating heat. In the case of TO’s standard chamber this is achieved through a combination of a specifically designed centrifugal fan, dual chambers (working test chamber and fan chamber) and strategically placed air ducts between the chambers, net effect being accurate control of hot air movement around the test specimen deriving a Temperature Gradient of +/- 1ºC after 30 minutes within 80% centre volume of chamber.

  • What capacity of UTM is needed to Test maximum tensile force of 500N/mm^2 on a rectangular bar of steel with width 50 mm and thikness 12 mm. Another sample is of Cu rod of outer dia 1mm


    300,000N would be max load .  1 mm rod will take very low load

  • I have some questions about chemical composition of 3 of hounsfield products of (Tensile Test Specimens) are: Low carbon steel,Hard drawn copper, and Aluminum.


    The three tensile test speciemsn we offer are actually made from plain carbon steel, brass and aluminum. The chemical composition of the plain carbon steel specimens is 0.15% C max, 0.4% Si max, 0.9/1.3 Mn, 0.07 P max. The chemical composition of the brass specimens is 58% Cu max, 3% Pb max and 39% Zn. The chemical composition of the aluminium specimens is 95.2% - 98.3% Al, 0.25% Cr max, 0.1% Cu max, 0.5% Fe max, 0.6% - 1.2% max Mg, 0.4% - 1% max Mn, 0.7% - 1.3% max Si, 0.1% max Ti, 0.2% max Zn, Other..0.15% max. Hope this is what you are looking for.

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