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What Are the Different Methods of Abrasion Testing?

By Larry Ray Palmer
Updated May 17, 2024
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Abrasion testing is a standard procedure used in manufacturing and industry to study a product's resistance to damage and wear caused by abrasion. Various methods are used for abrasion testing by laboratories but there are a few basic ones that are noted as international standards. These tests are given an ASTM designation, which indicates that the methods were developed by ASTM International, an international manufacturing standards organization. Abrasion testing is used on a variety of manufactured products to test abrasion resistance in materials such as paint, adhesive, cloth and metals.

Two common methods of abrasion testing are pin testing and dry sand/rubber wheel apparatus testing. For pin testing, a rotating pin travels along a fixed wear path to produce abrasion on the surface. The dry sand/rubber wheel apparatus test uses a spinning rubber wheel that is positioned a set distance from the sample piece. Dry sand is then introduced to the gap between the wheel and the sample, flowing in the same direction as the motion of the wheel. The dry sand used has a uniform grain size and composition to ensure consistent abrasive qualities during the testing procedure.

One example of pin testing is the Standard Test Method for Coated Fabrics Abrasion Resistance, or ASTM D3389, abrasion testing procedure, which is used to measure the abrasive resistance of plastic- or rubber-coated cloth. This test measures the mass loss of a fabric's coating, or wear, resulting from interaction with a rotating pin. Careful measurements of the material's weight and thickness are made prior to testing and compared with the resulting measurements after the testing procedure is completed.

The ASTM G132 is another pin testing method, called a dual-pin method, which uses two pins mounted perpendicular to the test product and a control product with a known resistance factor. For this test, the sample and control materials are weighed prior to testing. The pins travel along a continuous path, creating wear on the surface of the materials. When the test is completed, both pieces are removed from the abrasion testing machine and weighed again; the resulting loss of weight is measured using a formula that includes safeguards against variations in the abrasive properties of the pins.

The Standard Test Method for Measuring Abrasion Using the Dry Sand/Rubber Wheel Apparatus, also known as the ASTM G65 test, is an abrasion testing method that measures mass or volume loss caused by dry sand abrasion. The test is conducted by introducing a flow of sand to the space between the abrasion resistant sample being tested and a spinning rubber wheel. The testing laboratory technician then measures the resulting mass or volume loss in the sample product. This test is commonly used to test the abrasive resistance of hard surface coatings, such as paint, and for testing solid products, including plastic, metal or ceramics.

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