A certified reference material for the scratch test

R. Jacobs (Corresponding Author), J. Meneve, G. Dyson, D.G. Teer, N. M. Jennett, P. Harris, J. von Stebut, C. Comte, P. Feuchter, A. Cavaleiro, Helena Ronkainen, Kenneth Holmberg, U. Beck, G. Reiners, C. D. Ingelbrecht

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    33 Citations (Scopus)


    Adhesion and other mechanical behaviour of coatings is at present routinely tested in industry and research organisations using the scratch test. The test has been the subject of a European Standard prEN 1071-3:2000 established by the European Standards Committee CEN TC184 WG5. A previous European project on the development and validation of test methods for thin hard coatings—FASTE—revealed that uncertainties in the Rockwell C stylus tip shape represent a major source of error for the scratch-test method. Therefore a follow-up project—REMAST—was started to develop and certify a reference material as a quality control tool for the testing and qualification of scratch-test instruments. In addition, a considerable effort was devoted to improve the scratch stylus manufacturing process. This paper presents the results of the REMAST project. During a feasibility study, two candidate materials—titanium nitride (TiN) and diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings both on high speed steel substrates—were evaluated. Because of the lower sensitivity to styli tip shape variations and higher data scatter observed for the TiN coating, DLC was chosen as the reference material to be certified. One thousand samples were produced, as well as qualified styli to carry out the certification campaign, including homogeneity and stability testing. Nine independent laboratories were involved in the certification exercise, and the data were statistically analysed to obtain the certified critical load values and their uncertainty ranges. A certified reference material BCR-692 is available for verification purposes. This presents three repeatable failure events at certified critical load intervals and can provide a good indication of overall scratch-test instrument performance, including stylus condition and calibration. It is also useful as a diagnostic tool, providing a means of sensitive monitoring of machine and stylus performance over extended periods. Considerable improvement of the quality of scratch styli was achieved by the strict control of all manufacturing steps.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1008-1013
    Number of pages6
    JournalSurface and Coatings Technology
    Publication statusPublished - 2003
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed
    EventEight International Conference on Plasma Surface Engineering - Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
    Duration: 9 Sept 200213 Sept 2002


    • adhesion
    • scratch test
    • adhesion tests
    • testing
    • certified reference material
    • quality
    • quality control


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