What is Charpy Testing and what ASTM standards require it?

Charpy testing, or impact testing was developed in 1905 by Georges Charpy in order to determine the amount of energy absorbed by a material during fracture. It was noticed that as the temperature drops, the tensile and yield of steel increases, but the ductility drops, leading to brittle and sometimes catastrophic failures.

A standard Charpy test is performed by machining a 10mm x 10mm x 55mm test piece with a notch cut at the intended fracture point. The test sample is then brought down to the specified temperature, typically in a liquid medium. The sample is placed into the fixture, and a pendulum is set to swing and break the sample at the grooved notch. The testing machine calculates the amount of energy absorbed by the sample by measuring how high the pendulum swings after fracture. The lower the swing, the more energy was absorbed. One charpy test is actually three separate tests, with the reported result being the average of the three.

Below are some commonly tested fastener grades, and their respective charpy requirements.

Grade Foot-Lbs (Ave-min) Temperature
F1554 grade 55 15 +40F
F1554 grade 105 15 -20F or +40F
A320 grade L7 20 -150F
A320 gradeL43 20 -150F

ASTM F1554 has one supplemental requirement, S4 at +40F for use with either Grade 55 or Grade 105.

Portland Bolt inventories charpy tested steel round bar in F1554 grades 55 and 105 and A320 grade L7. Special charpy testing can be performed on request.

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6 comments

    Dear Sir,

    Can we do Impact test for the Heavy Hex Nut ASTM A194 Gr.7 ? or only do for Stud A320 L7

    Please kindly advise.

    Thank you very much

    @Ha- Normally, both the stud and the nut are charpy tested. However, the nut in its finished condition may be too small for a charpy test sample, so typically the test is done during manufactuing using a larger test piece from the same steel.

    The structural steel project where I am assigned now involves big diameter bolts (M42, M48, up to M72) manufactured per BS EN 14399 which refers to EN ISO 898-1, ISO-148, and EN 10045-1 for the conduct of Charpy Impact tests. In all these references, there is no mention about the number of test specimens for the tests, which usually involves 3 specimens.

    Is it okay to carry out the impact test using only one test specimen?

    @Noeto- The normal charpy test procedure is to test three specimens and take the average of those. That said, we are not familiar with the specifics of the standards you reference, so we cannot be certain.

    @Nick- Charpy tests can be run on nuts if the nuts are large enough to machine a charpy coupon out of. Normally the nuts need to be larger than 1-1/2″ in order to be able to yield a test coupon. Otherwise, if you know you need a charpy at the time of manufacture, the nut manufacturer can hold out a test piece to run the charpy on.

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