Characterization of the scratch resistance of ceramic tiles: Part II

Ceramic floor tiles are regularly subject to wear by hard objects. However, since the EN 101 standard for wear testing of ceramic tiles is no longer valid, a new test method shall be found in order to measure this important property. This application report shows the use of the scratch method for wear testing of ceramic tiles.

Ceramic floor tiles are regularly subject to wear and scratching by hard objects such as sand or metals. Previous studies showed that the scratch damage caused by hard particles on the tiles strongly decreases their wear resistance and negatively affects their aesthetic properties (loss of brightness, discoloration, etc.). The presence of cracks and open voids leads to increase of surface roughness which favors inlay of dust and dirt. Apart from their decorative aspects, ceramic tiles are often used as a protection against severe wear and abrasion. Their surface must therefore be scratch and wear resistant. To achieve the best protection, ceramic tiles are glazed. Glaze is a hard vitreous surface coating with thickness of several hundreds of micrometers that protects the main tile material against external damage. Glaze can also have cleaning and anti-bacterial function.

Manufacturers need to characterize the scratch and wear resistance of their products. Unfortunately, the standard EN 101:1991 ‘Ceramic tiles - Determination of scratch hardness of surface according to Mohs’ is no more valid and the tile industry needs to find a new test method. The scratch technique is a suitable candidate for this purpose.

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