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The Metals Handbook defines hardness as "Resistance of metal to permanent or plastic deformation".
Unlike other measurements that directly relate to a material's physical properties (e.g., weight is directly related to mass), hardness is a comparative measurement. It is important to recognize that hardness is an empirical test and therefore hardness is not a material property. This is because there are several different hardness measurements depending on the manner in which the test is conducted....
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