3D Scratch Tester

Scratch tester for nano, micro and macro force ranges. Combined with an in-line 3D profiler. Characterize bulk materials or coatings from nm to mm thickness.

3D Scratch Adhesion Tester UST-2 Overview

Main Features

  • Nano, Micro, and Macro Scratch ranges on one platform
  • 3D surface panorama image of each scratch
  • Patented in-line 3D imaging of scratch
  • Normal and tangential forces standard and measured atop the sample
  • 3D Profiler and scratch data automatic correlation

Designed to quantify mechanical behaviors of bulk or coated surfaces in scratch. The UST-2 scratch tester measures scratch adhesion & cohesion, scratch hardness, mar resistance, and hardness. Additionally, the scratch tester provides multi-pass wear at nano, micro, and macro scale.

The In-line integrated 3D profiler allows a unique analysis of failures with high resolution. The profilometer correlates the effect of roughness, features, and more on the measured properties.

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3D Scratch Tester Like No Other

Customizable To Fit Your Needs

Interchangeable Nano, Micro, Macro Scratch Measuring Modules

Down force from mN to 200 N (Higher force on MFT-5000 platform)

Patented In-line Profilometer

3D profiler to automatically combine high resolution nm  profiler data and scratch test data

Lower Interchangeable Motions

Scratch in linear, rotary or custom motion.

Rtec Instruments 3D scratch tester schematic
XY Stage

High precision 210 mm XY stage to move test samples between testing and image positions, as well as performs slow speed reciprocating tests.

Upper Z Structure

High precision multiple Z drives with high resolution encoders to move position testing module and profilometer.


Open platform architecture for superior ease of use. Large sample testing volume, ability to mount and test any large dimension sample or full product.

Automatic Stitching Of In-line 3D Images

Scratch Data Visualization. Further analyze failure points and then relate to scratch data.

coating failure data after scratch adhesion test on scratch tester

At the end of the scratch, the Universal Scratch Tester UST-2, automatically moves the sample under the optical profilometer to create a full 3D panorama of the scratch. The combination of the measuring head and the profilometer provide measurements for scratch volume, depth, residual deformation, roughness, volume wear and a clear determination of points of failure with sub-nanometer resolution. The turret on the profilometer allows the installation of up to 5 objectives providing multiple magnifications simultaneously.

Interchangeable Scratch Tester Heads On One Platform

Easy exchange of measuring heads accommodates nano scratch, micro scratch and macro scratch on the same platform.

Nano Scratch Tester Head


Max Down Force 1000 mN

Micro Scratch Tester Head


Max Down Force 50 N

Macro Scratch Tester Head


Max Down Force 200 N

Friction, Wear, and Coating Failures Data Correlation

Pre Test Image

Sample moves under 3D profilometer to measure surface topography

Scratch test

Single or multiple scratches using predefined recipes are performed

Post Test Image

The sample moves under the profilometer to analyze scratch area


Automatic visualization for failures, adhesion, friction, cohesion and roughness characterizations. Residual depth, volume wear, and permanent deformation easily calculated.

3D Scratch tester data showing panoramic image  combined with scratch adhesion data

Patented Integrated Four Mode Profilometer

The profilometer is optimized to image scratch and indentation marks with high resolutions.  Automatic multiple imaging modes selection  to image any sample surface – transparent, glass, mirror, rough, smooth, steep slope, and much more with ease.

Dark Field Mode

Allows detection of cracks at the surface with notable contrast

White Light Interferometer Mode

Allows high resolution images of flat surfaces

Lambda universal profilometer rtec-instruments
Spinning Disk Confocal Microscope Mode

Measures steep slopes,  transparent, dark or rough surfaces

Bright Field Mode

2D profiles with high resolution and real colors

Load Profile and Custom Motions

Load Profiles: constant, linear increasing or decreasing, steps, or user’s defined load profiles. The applied normal force and resulting friction forces are measured using precise NIST traceable sensors with high thermal stability.

Various Motions: The automatic 210×150 mm XY stage can perform multiple scratch on single or multiple samples automatically. Scratch tests can be customize to achieve any motion profile –straight, curved, circle, zigzag, and more.

scratch test setup
Scratch Setup With In-line Profiler
scratch test using Rockwell tip on 3D scratch tester
Scratch With Rockwell Tip
Scratch Adhesion Test Using cutting tool
Scratch With Cutting Tool

Sensors and Chambers

Application specific solutions

Environmental chambers and a variety of sensors create numerous test variations that replicate real-life scenarios.

Electrical Contact Resistance

Identifies the coating failure point via the measure of the electrical resistance change during the scratch.

Acoustic Emission

Identifies brittle material failures by measuring the shock vibrations during the scratch.

Corrosion Setup

Allows scratch corrosion studies.

Environmental Chambers

Temperature, Humidity, and More.

Additional Sensors

Various sensors on coating scratch adhesion tester provides more information during the test.

Solution To

The UST-2 scratch tester is used extensively across a wide range of industries:

  • Thermal Spray Coatings
  • Turbine, engine, components
  • Anti corrosive coatings
  • Marr Resistance 
  • Thermal Spray Coatings
  • DLC
  • Paints
  • Bio compatible coatings
  • Medical devices
  • Joints
  • Valves, pumps
  • Ceramic coatings
  • Bulk materials
Hard Coating
  • Cutting tools
  • Thermal spray
  • DLC
  • Bulk Materials
  • Coatings
  • Textured surfaces
Optics and Glasses
  • Lenses
  • Touch screen
  • Consumer goods
  • Coatings on tablet
  • Marr resistance
  • Coating
  • Bulk materials
  • Screens
  • Thin coatings
  • Protective coatings
  • Consumer goods

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