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International Standards

ISO 15184

Introducing ISO 15184 - Industrial Physics

ISO 15184 is a global ISO standard that is used to determine the hardness of varnishes and paints using a pencil hardness test. 

This pencil hardness test can be performed on a single coating of a paint, varnish or related product, or on the upper layer of a multi-coat system. 

If you need to compare the pencil hardness of different coatings then ISO 15184 is not the best approach. It’s stronger for when you need a rapid test to be used to rate a series of coated panels exhibiting significant differences in pencil hardness. This ISO scratch hardness test is also only applicable to smooth surfaces. 

Introducing the scratch hardness test

The purpose of the scratch hardness test is to determine the resistance of coating materials or lacquers to surface level scratch damage. It’s a useful test for furniture or vehicle lacquers, but is also relied upon in the development of synthetic resins and other film forming materials. 

Generally, a scratch hardness test involves moving a sharp object under a known pressure over a test surface. The result can represent the value of the pressure required to scratch through the test material - if a scratching tool of constant hardness is used. Or you can choose instead to vary the hardness of the scratching tool while maintaining a constant 750g pressure.  

The Wolff Wilborn pencil hardness test 

One of the most common methods of determining coating hardness is the pencil hardness test, also known as the Wolff Wilborn method.  

Our Wolff WiIborn hardness tester uses pencils with a hardness grade in the range of 6B to 8H. During the pencil hardness test each one is moved, scratching over the surface under a 45° angle, with a constant pressure. An optical assessment reveals which pencil hardness test scale damages the surface and which does not. 

ISO 15184 pencil hardness testing  

So, how can Industrial Physics improve your ISO 15184 pencil hardness testing?  

TQC Sheen Pencil Hardness Test acc. Wolff Wilborn

The TQC Pencil Hardness Test according to Wolff Wilborn gives you a simple but effective method to test the scratch hardness of coatings.  

Our Wolff WiIborn hardness tester uses pencils with a hardness grade in the range of 6B to 8H. During the pencil hardness test each one is moved, scratching over the surface under a 45° angle, with a constant pressure. An optical assessment reveals which pencil hardness test scale damages the surface and which does not.  

Need pencil hardness testing solutions? Get in touch

We’ve learnt a thing or two about pencil hardness testing over the decades. Now Industrial Physics is recognized as a brand that likes to bring new, innovative paint hardness testers  and paint scratchers to market.

Here you’ll find some of the blogs we have published, like this one - which looks at protecting your coating performance with scratch hardness testing. Or maybe you’d prefer to read about microhardness testing: the basics? 

Finally, click here to view a video of our Pencil Hardness Test acc. Wolff Wilborn device in action 

If you have any questions about ISO 15184 and how we can help you with your pencil hardness testing, then please just get in touch!

Contact us - Industrial Physics

Your global test and inspection partner for ISO 15184

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