Scratch Testing of Polymers

Scratch testing is a form of mechanical testing that simulates the abrasion, wear and tear of environmental and other factors on the surface of a product. Scratch testing of polymers is a subsection of this particular to the testing of polymers and composites materials. Scratch testing involves drawing a series of conical diamond tips across a polymer surface. This might be under a constant load, stepwise or under a progressively increasing load. Analysis of the resulting scratches takes place using a profilometer and microscopy to calculate scratch hardness values of the material being tested. A scratch map can be drawn up from the results to demonstrate the likely effects of a range of environmental and other working conditions on the surface. Scratch testing of polymers is widely used in the engineering and automotive industries to name but two. It allows for informed decisions to be made about materials to be used in production and also assists with quality control.

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