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Choosing a Shore durometer!



  Durometers are used to determine the hardness of elastic materials like rubber and plastic and they can be used by everybody from manufacturers to the end users of rubber and plastic products. For manufacturers, testing the hardness of their product is important as it allows them to ensure consistent high quality. For businesses and home users they can be used to determine when rubber products need replacing, such as testing a car or truck tire.

There are two main types of 
durometers: Shore A and Shore D. Below we will be go through the difference between these and  how to choose the best durometer for your requirements.

Shore A durometers are used for soft plastics and rubbers such as rubber bands, automotive tires and skateboard and roller skate wheels. Shore D durometers are used for harder plastics such as shopping cart wheels and hard hats. Shore durometers have a scale of 0-100 with 0 being the softest and 100 being the hardest. It is also worth noting that there is a bit of overlap between the scales. For example, truck tyres might give a reading of 70 on the Shore A scale, and give a reading of 14 on the Shore D scale. 
 


Figure 1: Relevant Shore Hardness Scales


So how do you choose a durometer

As a general rule, if you can indent the plastic or rubber you want to test with your fingernail, then you should choose a Shore A durometer. If you can’t indent it with your nail then you should choose a Shore D durometer. It is also worth considering whether you just need an approximate test, or you need to meet a particular standard. If you only need a general guide, then a unit like the ICHF-SHRA or ICHF-SHRD would be suitable. If you are looking to meet a standard like ASTM D2240 then a unit like the ICHB-SHRD along with a test stand would be a better option. 


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