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Biomedical applications 2: Adhesion and scratch resistance by scratch testing

Over the past several decades, a growing interest in better understanding the mechanical properties of biomaterials has been seen. Besides hardness and elastic modulus values that can be determined using indentation techniques, researchers and developers are also interested in knowing adhesion and scratch resistance of many types of surface coatings applied to these materials. The scratch testing method is a suitable technique whose results can be used for improvement of lifetime and osseointegration of implants, stents or prostheses. This application report demonstrates the use of the scratch technique for characterization of several biomaterials with Anton Paar Scratch Testers.


The fast growing domain of mechanical testing of biomaterials demands ever more sophisticated measurement techniques. Researchers and developers are interested in knowing not only the mechanical properties of biological materials and biomaterials (hardness and elastic modulus) but also in adhesion and scratch resistance of many types of surface coatings applied to biomaterials. Knowing adhesion of functional coatings is primordial in order to ensure good biocompatibility of implants, improved osseointegration and generally long lifetime of many prosthetic or stent applications.

This application report summarizes the use of the scratch test technique for assessment of adhesion of functional surface coatings (hard or soft) and their scratch resistance. It is complementary to the application report dedicated to hardness and elastic modulus measurement using nanoindentation.

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