Abrasion testing is the process of simulating wear and tear on a product in order to determine its usefulness or durability. This is generally done by rubbing an abrasive against a surface for a certain number of cycles, with the goal being to remove certain amounts of material from that surface.
In a nutshell, abrasion testing is often used to simulate real-world wear and tear. Also, it helps in determining the durability of products such as flooring, fabrics, rubber, and plastics. Abrasive wear testing can be used to determine how much resistance a particular product has to abrasives such as sand and dirt, indicating how long the product will last before it needs to be replaced.
Types of Abrasion Testing
The main types of abrasion tests include;
Sliding wear-Sliding wear occurs when two materials slide against each other. The more friction between the two surfaces, the more abrasive wear will occur. Three-body abrasion occurs when one object slides against another as a third object interferes. Four-body abrasion also involves sliding and friction; however, in this case, three objects slide together as a fourth abrades them. Wear by repetitive impact refers to how metal can degrade in an environment where many small particles constantly strike it; this is similar to erosion but differs in that erosion deals with larger objects moving at faster rates of speed.
Mar abrasion-Mar abrasion involves a weighted specimen being rubbed on a hard surface. The damage caused by a specific material after a specific number of cycles is assessed and compared to the damage caused by other materials. This type of testing is useful for evaluating materials used in applications where friction will be present, such as clothing, carpets, flooring, and upholstery.
Rolling abrasion– This simulates tread wear on tires. A test wheel is rolled against a sample for a set period at a specified load and speed. The test wheel can be made from several materials, including asphalt, rubber, concrete, brick, and steel. After abrasion, the sample is usually weighed to determine its mass loss due to wear. It can also be visually inspected for signs of damage or failure.
Two-body abrasive wear- It occurs when two solid surfaces are in relative motion, with one or both surfaces having abrasive particles in contact with the surface(s). The abrasive particles can be attached to one of the surfaces or suspended in a liquid or gas that is in contact with the surfaces. Examples of two-body abrasive wear include a grinding machine tool and an industrial bearing.
Since abrasion testing is a form of accelerated wear testing that has been developed to a high degree of accuracy and repeatability, it can be used as a valuable tool in the development of new products. The results obtained from abrasion testing are extremely useful, not just in determining if the material is suitable for its intended use but also in helping to determine if there are any weaknesses that may lead to premature failure.
The fact that abrasion testing can be carried out quickly and accurately makes it an excellent screening tool for new products, allowing materials with unacceptable performance characteristics to be removed from consideration before more expensive tests are carried out.