Non-Destructive Tests on Carpentry Steels

Antonio Formisano1, *, Enzo Jr. Dessì1, Giovanni Chiumiento1
1 Department of Structures for Engineering and Architecture, University of Naples "Federico II" Piazzale Tecchio n. 80, Naples, Italy

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© 2019 Formisano et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Structures for Engineering and Architecture, University of Naples "Federico II" Piazzale Tecchio n. 80, Naples, Italy; Fax: +390815934792; Tel: +390817682438;



Industrial archaeology represents a modern branch of urbanism and architecture that studies, applying an interdisciplinary method, all the evidence inherent the process of industrialization from its origins to the actuality.


Looking at the cities of our epoch, more and more are the testimonies of these historical artefacts, which in fact represent our cultural identity and are often intended to be recovered and converted into modern destinations of use.


If the identification of constructive schemes is based on direct essays and surveys, the definition of material properties requires material testing and investigation. For metal structures, the standards involve destructive investigations only, with a sampling of specimens, which often conflict with the protection requirements of the artefact. This leads to the need to refine and make reliable non-destructive investigations using the Leeb method, by means of portable micro-durometers, for in-situ characterization of carpentry steels, so to suggest new regulatory guidelines for existing structures surveys.


In the paper, the classification of carpentry steels based on non-destructive hardness test was illustrated and discussed. Firstly, for the evaluation of the resistance class of a structural steel, it was recorded that the execution of tests required a careful cleaning of the surface of samples.

Subsequently, analyzing the data obtained from the experimentation, it was clear that the best methodology of data conversion from micro-hardness (Leeb method) tests for the determination of the steel class was given by tables and formulations of the ASTM standard. In the case of a few values to be converted, the most effective method was the manual use of the tables, with an average error of 0.10%.


In conclusion, it should be remarked that differently from the reinforced concrete structures, where the non-destructive tests are allowed by the current Italian technical code on, for metallic structures only, destructive tests are permitted, so that the use of non-destructive ones should be encouraged, especially when interventions on cultural heritage constructions are of concern.

Keywords: Steel structures, Mechanical tests, Hardness, Brinell tests, Leeb tests, Micro-durometers.