Before it is possible to arrive at a definition of hardness, one must realize that hardness is conceptual. It means different things to different people and is measured in different ways. Dealing with the hardness of relatively thin organic finishes over various substrates presents other complications not experienced when one deals with materials in bulk. That is, the apparent or measured value of hardness is dependent on factors outside of the organic finish itself. Included among these factors are the thickness of the organic finish and the nature of the substrate. Another way of expressing this is to say that hardness is not an absolute or intrinsic material property of organic finishes. It is not an absolutely definable value such as mass, length, velocity, etc. It is descriptive of many things and is variable. Trying to limit the hardness of organic finishes to a particular, intrinsic material property, is like trying to confine mercury in one's fist.
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