Abrasion, Rub and Scratch Resistance

The complexity of wear processes has led to the development of numerous standard test methods and test apparatus. However, correlation between these methods is not generally possible, although materials are often ranked in the same order.

Smithers Pira testing facilities include Smithers Pira rub tester, the Taber Abrader, the Sheen Motorised Scratch Tester, the Satra rub tester and the Crockmeter. 

Smithers Pira (PATRA) rub tester

The Smithers Pira (PATRA) rub tester rubs two printed surfaces against each other (face-to-face) in the same plane, at the same speed (60 rpm), under a constant rubbing pressure. The rub test equipment can also be used to evaluate color transfer from printed or coated surfaces during rubbing and is used by Smithers Pira to evaluate the rub resistance of labels and general printed matter.

The Smithers Pira rub tester conforms to British Standard BS 3110.

Taber Abrader

The Taber Abrader is primarily used to evaluate the resistance of surfaces to rubbing abrasion. Specimens are mounted on a rotating turntable and subjected to the wearing action of two abrasive wheels, which are applied at a specific pressure. The severity of the test can be altered by using different wheels under different loads. The end point is either a visual change in appearance or a weight loss associated with material removed by abrasion.

  • Tappi Standard T476 covering the abrasion loss of paper and board
  • British Standard BS 3900 for the determination of resistance to abrasion applicable to paints and varnishes
  • ANSI Standard INCITS 322 applicable to card durability. A Taber abrasion test is specified by the Book Manufacturing Institute (BMI)
Sheen Motorized Scratch Tester

Motorised Scratch TesterA test panel is withdrawn under a constant weighted 1mm tungstem carbide ball-ended needle at a speed of 3.4cm/second using a Sheen 705 mechanized Scratch Tester satisfying the requirements of BS 3900 Part E2 1992/ISO 1518 1992. Failure of the surface coating is examined visually and by electrical surface resistance when the underlying substrate is electrically conductive. 

Coating failure under a given needle profile/weighting is related to coating-substrate adhesion, mechanical properties of substrate and coating, coating thickness, internal stress in coating and friction between stylus-tip and coating. The practical scratch adhesion value of a coating is defined as the lowest critical load at which the coating fails. 

Satra Rub Tester

The Satra rub tester is a circular rub fastness tester which can also be used for testing the rub/abrasion resistance of inks on printed films, such as plastic carrier bags, under dry and wet conditions.

The machine has a rotating head holding a circular felt pad which is applied to the sample under a defined load.

The rub or abrasion resistance is determined by the extent of damage to the sample material or by the extent of color or print transfer to the felt pad, using a standard scale where necessary.

The Satra rub tester is used in testing against International Standard ISO 105-X12.


The Crockmeter is used to assess the transfer from the surface of colored materials to other surfaces by rubbing. The machine takes its name from the term 'crocking' meaning the transfer of coloring matter or other substances from the test sample to a wet or dry cloth rubbed against it.

The Crockmeter is used in testing against ASTM F1319 and International Standard ISO 105-X12.