Previously, researchers tested the scratch-resistance of car paint in one of two ways: either via a crockmeter or via the Amtec-Kistler car wash method. A crockmeter is a type of machine that rubs a robotic finger over a surface to test its resilience. The Amtec-Kistler car wash is a piece of laboratory equipment that simulates a car wash, to test a car exterior’s durability during an actual car wash.
Now, a group of companies allied with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to come up with a better way to test car paint. They published the findings in the science journal Progress in Organic Coatings.
The new testing method includes three steps. In the first step, a scientist taps a diamond-tipped stylus across a surface to map its structure. Next, they drag the tip across the surface at certain velocities and pressures. This simulates different types of scratches that a car’s paint encounters in the real world. Lastly, they map the surface again to gather more details about the scratches and the paint’s resilience.
The discovery should result in more accurate testing, which in turn, will help manufacturers craft smarter paint and external materials. That way, car exteriors can have more rugged paint coats to help minimize wear and tear during the vehicle’s lifetime. We anticipate more news as the industry applies this new scratch-resistance test on a wider scale. Maybe sometime in the distant future, car paint chips will be a thing of the past.
Scratch tester is a motorized device to test the resistance of many materials to scratching, shearing, gouging, marring, scraping and engraving.