Characterizing Scratch Resistance of Ceramic Tiles

This article presents a new method for testing the scratch resistance of ceramic tiles and provides a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in material failure and removal. Based on a scratch test method, this novel approach is often used in other industrial domains. The principal reason for applying the scratch method for testing of ceramic tiles was the replacement of the outdated ‘EN 1071 Ceramic tiles - Determination of scratch hardness of surface in accordance with Mohs hardness scale’ standard, which was shown to be user subjective and highly inaccurate when applied to new advanced materials.

This article presents the testing conditions, experimental methods and results on both unglazed and glazed ceramic tiles. An all-inclusive test matrix was carried out with the aim to propose a replacement to the EN 1071 standard. The presented test method’s parameters were partly adapted from the ‘ISO 20502 Standard Fine ceramics – Determination of adhesion of ceramic coatings by Scratch testing’ [1].

Advantages of Scratch Tests on Bulk Materials

The scratch test method is routinely used to characterize the adhesion of surface coatings, but it can also be used to characterize bulk materials. In such situations, the scratch resistance is normally achieved instead of adhesion. Generally, the scratch tests are used for studying the mechanisms that occur during wear or abrasion. Moreover, these tests provide a unique possibility to study the impact of single particle abrasion, which is either difficult or impossible to replicate by other wear or abrasion tests.

During a scratch test, information such as elastic-plastic deformations, lateral and radial cracks, formation of median and material failure mechanisms that take place during scratch testing can be obtained. This information can considerably provide a better insight into the mechanisms involved in sliding abrasion wear and abrasion of fragile materials. Therefore, scratch testing is a perfect method for the simple, efficient assessment of scratch resistance of different types of materials, including ceramic tiles.

Aside from their decorative aspects, ceramic tiles are often used because they provide protection from severe abrasion and wear. This means these tiles should have surfaces that have excellent resistance against scratch and abrasion. Studies performed in the past [2, 3] have demonstrated that cracking and chipping of the tiles negatively affects aesthetic properties (discoloration effects, loss of brightness, etc.) and considerably decreases their wear resistance. In addition, surface roughness is increased due to the presence of open voids and cracks which favors inlay of dirt and dust, further decreasing the aesthetic aspects of the tiles.

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This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Anton Paar GmbH.

For more information on this source, please visit Anton Paar GmbH.

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