Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 46, Issue 17, pp 5790–5797 | Cite as

Influence of humidity on the scratch behavior of polystyrene–acrylonitrile random copolymers

  • Robert Browning
  • Rolf Minkwitz
  • Piyada Charoensirisomboon
  • Hung-Jue SueEmail author


The effect of exposure to a humid environment on the scratch behavior of a set of model polystyrene–acrylonitrile (SAN) random copolymers was investigated over a period of 10 days. Linear increasing load scratch tests were performed according to ASTM D7027/ISO 19252. The critical loads for the onset of key scratch deformation mechanisms like periodic micro-cracking, plowing, and scratch visibility were used as metrics for evaluating scratch resistance. The scratching coefficient of friction was evaluated, as well. It was found that, in general, the scratch resistance decreases during the first few days of moisture exposure, but then experiences a degree of recovery upon saturation. It is proposed that the initially absorbed moisture causes plasticization, making the surface weaker until saturation where the water molecules gather together on the surface to impart a degree of lubrication and consequently improve the scratch resistance. Implications of moisture absorption on the scratch behavior of polymers will be discussed.


Contact Angle Moisture Absorption Plowing Scratch Resistance Applied Normal Load 



The authors would like to thank both BASF SE and the Texas A&M Scratch Behavior of Polymers Consortium for the generous financial support of this work. Surface Machine Systems and the Polymer Technology Center are also given thanks for the use of their facilities and equipment. Thanks are given to Ehsan Moghbelli for the measurement of contact angles.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Browning
    • 1
  • Rolf Minkwitz
    • 2
  • Piyada Charoensirisomboon
    • 2
  • Hung-Jue Sue
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Polymer Technology Center, Department of Mechanical EngineeringTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.BASF SELudwigshafenGermany

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