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On the Vickers Indentation Fracture Toughness Test



George D. Quinn, Richard Bradt


The Vickers indentation fracture toughness test or VIF is addressed by considering its origins and the numerous equations that have been applied along with the technique to estimate the fracture resistance, or the KIc of ceramics. Initiation and propagation of cracks during the VIF test are described and contrasted with the pre-cracking and crack growth for internationally standardized fracture toughness tests. It is concluded that the VIF test technique is fundamentally different than standard fracture toughness tests. The VIF test has a complex three-dimensional crack system with substantial deformation residual stresses and damage around the cracks. The VIF test relates to an ill-defined crack arrest condition as opposed to the rapid crack propagation of the standardized fracture toughness tests. Previously published fracture toughness results employing the VIF technique are reviewed. These reveal serious discrepancies in reported VIF fracture toughness values. Finally, recent fracture resistance measurements by the VIF technique for the Standard Reference Material SRM 2100 are presented. These are compared with standardized test results for the same material. It is concluded that the VIF technique is not reliable as a fracture test for ceramics or for other brittle materials. What the VIF actually measures in terms of fracture resistance cannot be readily defined. It is recommended that the VIF technique no longer be acceptable for the fracture toughness testing of ceramic materials.
Journal of the American Ceramic Society


ceramics, fracture toughness, silicon carbide, silicon nitride, standard reference material


Quinn, G. and Bradt, R. (2007), On the Vickers Indentation Fracture Toughness Test, Journal of the American Ceramic Society (Accessed April 12, 2024)
Created January 4, 2007, Updated June 2, 2021