Accurate and precise wear measurements are a key element in solving both current wear problems and in facilitating basic wear research. Applications range from assessing the durability of micro-scale components to the accurate screening of surface treatments and thin solid films. The need to distinguish small differences in wear rate presents problems for those who are developing new materials and surface treatments. The sensitivities of methods for measuring wear in ASTM standard test methods are discussed. Errors associated with using alternate methods of wear measurement on the same test specimen are described. Human judgmental factors are a concern in common methods for wear measurement, and the results of an experiment involving measurement of a simulated wear scar by ten different people are described. Precision in wear measurement is limited by both the capabilities of the measuring instruments and by the nonuniformity of wear processes. The advantages and disadvantages of measuring wear using micro- and nano-scale indentations is discussed. The current and future prospects for incorporating advanced, higher-precision wear measurement methods into standards must be evaluated.
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