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The objective of the project is to consider the range of scratching, abrasion and erosion techniques used in the plastics industry and to apply a more fundamental understanding of the issues that contribute towards scratch resistance. Using generic techniques to manufacture materials with a so called ‘scratch resistant’ surface in acrylic and polycarbonate polymers, the project aims to identify some key links between bulk or coating mechanical properties and scratch and abrasion resistance.
A range of generic amorphous polymers will be produced and these will be available for characterisation in un-coated or coated forms. Participants will be invited to make their contributions in a number of areas:
- i) surface properties characterisation (nano- or micro-hardness, scratching, abrasion, erosion, AFM or other localised deformation techniques,
- ii) bulk properties (modulus, toughness, stress-strain behaviour), or
- iii) microstructural studies.
Data will be accumulated from industry tests such as Taber abraser method and the newly developed instrumented techniques, including nano-indentation and nano-scratching. This will cover a wide range of geometries, loads and rates. It is anticipated that this part of the project will provide a great deal of generic information, which will be of broad application across the plastics community and will attempt to define any links between the range of surface properties and the bulk properties.
The materials produced in this work could be used in future as reference materials for scratch and abrasion studies in the plastics industry.
A further key contribution that can be made through this project is to understand and relate the range of measurable parameters to one another, these being weight or volume loss, scratch hardness or resistance, friction coefficient, light reflection or transmission indexes such as ‘haze’ and the operating fracture mechanisms.
An ambitious target for the project would be to be able to link bulk and surface properties and to be able to predict multiple contact abrasion from single point scratching measurements. This would not be a trivial problem and could not expected to be fully understood within the scope of this project, but could form the basis of further work which would need to include modelling.