The impact toughness (AKA Impact strength) of a material can be determined with either a Charpy or Izod Impact Testing. Impact properties are not directly used in fracture mechanics calculations, but the economical impact tests continue to be used as a quality control method to assess notch sensitivity and for comparing the relative toughness of engineering materials. The two tests use different specimens and methods of holding the specimens, but both tests make use of a pendulum-testing machine.
A stop pointer is used to record how far the pendulum swings back up after fracturing the specimen. The impact toughness of a metal is determined by measuring the energy absorbed in the fracture of the specimen. This is simply obtained by noting the height at which the pendulum is released and the height to which the pendulum swings after it has struck the specimen . The height of the pendulum times the weight of the pendulum produces the potential energy and the difference in potential energy of the pendulum at the start and the end of the test is equal to the absorbed energy. Since toughness is greatly affected by temperature, a Charpy or Izod test is often repeated numerous times with each specimen tested at a different temperature. This produces a graph of impact toughness for the material as a function of temperature.