Versatile thin film adhesion and scratch testing machine for different material surfaces under various environmental condition

W. Demisse, P. Tyagi
University of the District of Columbia,
United States

Keywords: Characterization, testing, additive manufacturing, equipment, scratch, wear, coating


Coatings made of thin films are essential for safeguarding engineering components that are exposed to extreme conditions and play a significant role in the appearance of these components. These coatings are necessary for minimizing wear and tear, preventing corrosion, and allowing engineering components to function at high temperatures. The durability of components in harsh environments is largely dependent on the quality of the protective coatings and its ability to adhere to the component. Scratch testing is a method used to evaluate the resistance of a material to surface damage caused by scratching. It is an important quality control process for materials used in a wide range of applications, such as coatings, films, and surface treatments. The test involves using a stylus or a sharp object to apply a controlled force to the surface of the material and then measuring the depth and width of the resulting scratch. The test results can be used to determine the hardness, elastic modulus, and wear resistance of the material, as well as its ability to resist abrasion and impact. Scratch testing is also useful for evaluating the quality of the surface finish and the effectiveness of surface treatments. Determining the exact load at which a coating begins to rupture can be challenging. Additionally, traditional scratch testing methods do not take into account the combined effects of temperature and vibrations, which can affect the type and properties of scratches and provide an incomplete picture of the coating's quality. This invention discloses the design and operation of a new scratch tester. This scratch tester allows the determination of the accurate load at which film starts rupturing. This scratch tester also enables the temperature variations to perform scratch testing at different temperatures. The disclosed scratch tester also enables the application of vibrations on the sample under test to study the effect of vibration in the environment on the coating adhesion properties. All these features are included in a compact and economical scratch tester.