- HARDNESS EXERCISE B -
THE MOHS SCALE OF HARDNESS
|INTRODUCTION: The Mohs Hardness
Scale runs from H=1 (softest) to H=10 (hardest). It provides the basis for
a hardness classification with nine hardness categories: H = 1 to 2; H =
2 to 3; etc. The simple 'fingernail and steel' scale used in Exercise 1 provided
only three hardness categories: soft, intermediate, and hard. Thus, the Mohs
Scale distinguishes the hardness of minerals more accurately than the simpler
scale and is more useful in the identification of unknown minerals. For example,
two minerals that have hardnesses of 6.3 and 8.2 on the Mohs Scale would
both fall in the 'hard' category on the simple scale.
DETERMINING THE HARDNESS NUMBER
OF EACH OF THE
What you have to do is this:
NOW THAT YOU'VE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS,
CLICK ON "Go to the Virtual Hardness Testing
- After you have read these instructions (1 through 5), you will go to
the Virtual Hardness Testing Lab. There you will see the Hardness Evaluation
- HOW THE TABLE WORKS: A SKETCH (not the real thing) of the
Table is shown on the right. The Table has two identical lists of mineral
specimens and testing tools: one on the left (List 1) and one on the right
(List 2). The Mohs mineral specimens are marked with asterisks *.
- On the real Table, you will click on the buttons to choose a different Mohs mineral from each list. Pictures of the two Mohs minerals will appear in the top two boxes.
- Then you will press the "SCRATCH" button. Pictures of the same
two Mohs mineral specimens will appear in the lower two boxes. The softer
of the two Mohs minerals will have a scratch on it. A message will appear
in the message box.
- Get 10 small index cards or pieces of paper and set them out
in a row. On each, write the specimen number of one of the ten Mohs minerals
(indicated by asterisks).
- Now, test each Mohs minerals against each of the other Mohs
minerals to determine their relative hardnesses. As you decide which is harder
than which, keep rearranging the pieces of paper so that the softest mineral
is on the left and the hardest is on the right.
- When you have tested them all, list the specimen numbers of
the ten Mohs minerals in order of their hardness on a peice of paper. Give
each specimen a hardness number, from H = 1 to H = 10, with H = 1 being the
softest, and H = 10 being the hardest. For example:
Specimen # 23, H = 1;
Specimen # 12, H = 2; etc.
You have now made a Mohs Hardness Scale!
- After you have constructed your Mohs Hardness Scale, return to this
page. Enter your results in the 'interactive' Answer Checking Table
(see the purple button below) to see if they are correct. Once they
are correct, enter them in Part B of the HARDNESS
EXERCISES WORK SHEET (MN-3).
Go to the Virtual
Hardness Testing Lab
© 2010, David Leveson/Revised by G.Rocha and Michelle O'Dea