The Vickers hardness test was developed in 1921 by Robert L. Smith and George E. Sandland at Vickers Ltd as an alternative to the Brinell method to measure the hardness of materials.
The Vickers test is often easier to use than other hardness tests since the required calculations are independent of the size of the indenter, and the indenter can be used for all materials irrespective of hardness.
The basic principle, as with all common measures of hardness, is to observe the questioned material’s ability to resist plastic deformation from a standard source.
The Vickers test can be used for all metals and has one of the widest scales among hardness tests. The unit of hardness given by the test is known as the Vickers Pyramid Number (HV) or Diamond Pyramid Hardness (DPH). The hardness number can be converted into units of pascals, but should not be confused with pressure, which also has units of pascals.
The hardness number is determined by the load over the surface area of the indentation and not the area normal to the force, and is therefore not pressure.