This article describes a method for determining the dynamic indentation response of metals and ceramics. This method, based on split Hopkinson pressure bar testing, can determine rate-dependent characteristics of metals and ceramics at moderate strain rates. For example, dynamic indentation testing reveals a significant effect of loading rates on the hardness and the induced plastic zone size in metals and on the hardness and induced crack sizes of brittle materials. The article also explains the rebound and pendulum methods for dynamic hardness testing.
Split-Hopkinson pressure bar (SHPB) testing is traditionally used for determining the plastic properties of metals (which are softer than the pressure bar material) at high strain rates. However, the use of this method for testing ceramic has various limitations. This article provides a discussion on the operational principle of the traditional SHPB technique and the relevant assumptions in the derivation of the stress-strain relationship. It describes the inherent limitations on the validity of these assumptions in testing ceramics and discusses the necessary modifications in SHPB design and test procedure for evaluating high-strength brittle ceramics. The article includes information on the maximum strain rate that can be obtained in ceramics using an SHPB and the necessity of incident pulse shaping. It also reviews the specimen design considerations, interpretation of experimental results obtained from SHPB testing of ceramics, and effectiveness of the proposed modifications.