Hardness and Adhesion of Filmed Structures as Determined by the Scratch Technique

    Published: Jan 1978

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    In the first part we discussed the evolution of the scratch technique for measuring adhesion of thin films and the associated difficulties involved in the interpretation of the results. Subsequently, results on scratch hardness and adhesion of multilayered structures as determined by a single point loaded scratch tester are presented. The controlled scratches produced by the tester were examined by a very sensitive surface profilemeter and by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) for their scratch topography, modes of film deformation, and the mechanisms for film material removal. It is found that (a) the mechanism of film failure depends on whether the film is ductile or brittle; (b) there may not always be a clear channel formation, that is, complete removal of the film; and (c) scratch depth increases linearly with increasing load, which provides a means to determine scratch hardness for various layers.


    adhesion, thin films, scratch test, scribe test, scratch hardness, multilayers, scratch test history, threshold adhesion failure

    Author Information:

    Ahn, J
    Advisory engineer, International Business Machines Corporation, San Jose, Calif.

    Mittal, KL
    Staff engineer, International Business Machines Corporation, Hopewell Junction, N.Y.

    MacQueen, RH
    Senior associate engineer, International Business Machines Corporation, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

    Committee/Subcommittee: C24.30

    DOI: 10.1520/STP38630S

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