The Importance of Abrasion Testing in the Paint Manufacturing Process 1

“Can you please make sure the paint will hold up to my young son’s enthusiasm?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, he throws the football inside…he rides his skateboard around the house…he is an eight year old boy, so I guess it’s to be expected. But our house always looks ‘lived in,’ and while I’m excited about this new paint in the living room and kitchen, I want to make sure it holds up well.”

The painter knew exactly what his client was talking about, and he was confident that the paint he was using would be more than tough enough to handle whatever a third grader could throw at it. Why was he so confident? Because the paint he was using had been chemically engineered not just for color and gloss, but also for hardness and damage resistance.

Paint abrasion test.

An example of a paint abrasion test.
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Abrasion testing is the process of evaluating how much wear and tear a particular paint can withstand over time. From shoes walking over painted concrete to children bumping into a wall with their toys, quite obviously, different paints withstand abuse differently. Paints are engineered for all types of situations and conditions, from shines and finish to color and hardness. And one of the qualities and characteristics engineered in to paint is the ability of the coating, when cured or dried, to resist the everyday wear and tear that surfaces encounter over time.

Paint isn’t the only substance where abrasion testing is useful. From tile to vinyl flooring to bathtubs and porcelain fixtures, abrasion testing is a key component in the manufacturing of industrial materials like paint and flooring. Exposed surfaces in buildings and homes and on automobiles and boats are subject to contact with other surfaces that can eventually, over time, wear down the exterior finish.

abrasion testers are important to paint manufacturing

Abrasion testers are important to paint manufacturing.
Image source:

Most industrial testing protocols call for repeatedly exposing the subject to a test surface in a controlled environment. Most abrasion testers, like this one from BYK Instruments, allow the tester to affix a brush, sandpaper, or abrasive pads to an arm that repeatedly passes the substance in contact with the painted substrate.  The tester can control the speed and pattern of the contact to create a repeatable motion that replicates a variety of wear patterns. Furthermore, some testers have two brush holders so that different tensions and pressures can be tested side by side for comparative abrasion evaluations.

BYK abrasion tester

An industrial abrasion tester. Image courtesy of BYK.

Professional painters benefit from abrasion testing because such testing creates products that can be reliably used to protect surfaces. By having the testing take place prior to use, the paints and coatings that come out of the factory are already prepared and standardized to resist scuffing and scratching in ways that benefit the client. Conversely, paint that is not tested for abrasion hardiness can not be reliably used to protect substrates with any confidence.

Professional paintwork requires precision and planning. While it is convenient to think that both can be accomplished through experience and know-how, the reality is that things aren’t so simple. Long before the first can is opened, sophisticated work takes place in the engineering laboratory and in the manufacturing process to ensure that professional painters have the tools they need to do a great job.  Because of evaluations like abrasion testing you, the professional painter, can move forward on your next job with 100% confidence. Click here to learn more about BYK Abrasion testing machines and the advantages they bring to the professional painter.


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