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Cross-cut test for adhesion

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A cross cut applied down to the surface of a coated article can be used to assess the resistance of a coating to separation from the substrate. For most coating systems, good adhesion to the substrate is critically important.  If a coating has poor adhesion and is easily removed from the substrate, it can no longer protect the component from environmental influences and subsequently corrosion.

The international standard ISO 2409 specifies the following procedure for assessing coating adhesion with a cross-cut, sometimes referred to as a cross-hatch: 

Manual cross-​cut testing:

In a cross-​cut test, six parallel scribe lines are made down to the substrate using an appropriate tool. The distance between the cuts is 1-3mm, depending on the thickness of the coating.

Afterward, six additional  cuts are applied at right angles to the first set of cuts, resulting in a grid or lattice pattern.

All loose particles in the cross cut are then removed with a soft brush.

An adhesive tape is applied over the scribed lines and abruptly removed. 

The test surface is then assessed in accordance to the rating system provided in the test standard.  Adhesion ratings on a scale of 0 to 5 are determined, with 0 being the best.

In the case of a multi-​layer system, the layers in which separation occurs are also noted.






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Technical terms cannot always be avoided. As corrosion experts, we not only want to give you comprehensive advice, we are also interested in making you a corrosion expert yourself.

The variety around the topic of corrosion and corrosion protection is also in our glossary at home: explanations from A as in Adhesion to T as in Thread tolerance. Have fun clicking through!