Hardness may be defined as a material’s resistance to indentation. The durometer scale was defined by Albert Ferdinand Shore. The instrument as well as the unit of measurement is called as a Durometer. Durometer is used to measure the hardness of polymers, elastomers and rubbers. Today, the name usually refers to shore hardness. Shore hardness is one of the several ways to measure a material’s hardness.
Shore hardness has different scales that depict hardness for different types of materials. Based on the type of use, shore hardness is classified into 12 different types of scales viz.: A, B, C, D, DO, E, M, O, OO, OOO, OOO-S, and R. Each scale has values ranging from 0 to 100. Higher the value, harder the material and vice-versa. There is usually an overlap between the scales where one scale ends and the other begins.
Shore hardness usually implies how soft or how rigid the material is. Shore 00 scale is used for extra soft materials whereas Shore A scale is used for soft materials. Shore Scale D on the other hand is used for rigid materials. As you can see from the image, Shore hardness 20 A corresponds to a rubber band. That’s how soft a material corresponding to Shore 20 A would be. Kindly note that we are NOT referring to the elasticity of the rubber band here, but we are referring to its hardness value! A rubber band is very soft. If you were to apply force on it using the tip of your nail, it would most probably result in a nail shaped indentation on the band. In 3D Printing, we offer a material called Tango-elastic that can simulate hardness values ranging from Shore 27 A to Shore 85 A. So basically, it can be as soft as a rubber band and as hard as a shoe heel.
On the other hand, we also offer a stiff and a rigid material in 3D Printing called as Glass-Filled Nylon. It is a Nylon reinforced material with 30% Glass-Filled. It has a shore hardness value of 80 D which implies that the material is as hard as a safety helmet. In 3D Printing, we usually deal with materials that simulate hardness properties ranging from Shore A to Shore D scales. You can find a list of all the 3D Printing materials we offer, here.
To reiterate, hardness is a material property, and it is defined as the resistance to indentation. It is by no means an indication of how robust your part is or how your part would perform. The performance of your part and the desired output has a lot to do with the part design apart from the material characteristics. You can get in touch with us to ensure that your 3D CAD design is 3D printable and that it satisfies all the material design guidelines required for a sound output.
We hope you are better acquainted with the term shore hardness now, and what it signifies. In case you have any queries regarding the same, kindly write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, don’t forget to convey your feedback in the comments section below.