Lukáš Václavek, Jan Tomáštík, Hana Chmelíčková, Radim Čtvrtlík


Scratch test is regularly used for assessment of cohesive and adhesive strength of thin films and coatings. By default, its evaluation is based on analysis of depth-load-time record and microscopic observation of residual scratch groove. The visual analysis of the residual groove provides the most detailed description of the final damage of the surface (crack patterns, extent of plastic deformation, delamination, etc.), but it may be a time demanding approach. Although the continuous recording of indenter penetration depth and applied load offers instantaneous information about the performance of the tested material, it may not provide sufficient description of the sample’s deformation behaviour. Therefore, other complementary techniques for description of the deformation response to scratch loading are desirable. Continuous recording of acoustic emissions (AE) generated during the test could be a possible solution. It is especially the ability of AE method to detect the very first and even subsurface failures of the material that is of the most importance and otherwise inaccessible by standardly used techniques. What is more, it is a non-destructive and real-time method. In principle, AE method can be beneficially employed for a wide range of materials explored via scratch test. The strength of the AE analysis of the nano/micro scratch test will be demonstrated on various types of materials including optical thin films, durable metal and hard ceramic films as well as bulk laser cladding. Selected phenomena and features of the use of AE during scratch testing will be presented, including effect of scratch load on character of AE records (burst vs. continuous) for TiO2 on glass, subsurface damage of SiC films on silicon and selective failure of hard carbide phase embedded in a metal matrix in case of laser re-melted layers.


Acoustic emission, laser cladding, scratch test, thin films


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ISSN 2336-5382 (Online)
Published by the Czech Technical University in Prague