According to Wikipedia abrasion is:

the process of scuffing, scratching, wearing down, marring, or rubbing away. It can be intentionally imposed in a controlled process using an abrasive. Abrasion can be an undesirable effect of exposure to normal use or exposure to the elements.”

Within the industry the two terms seem to be somewhat interchangeable.

From Xymox’s perspective, we have always been concerned with, and focused on, “scratches”. This is especially true when dealing with display windows on graphics/faces/lenses.

The perspective and terminology of our material providers is somewhat different:

  •  Evonik uses the term “abrasion resistant” (AR) when referring to their coatings. “AR” is even included in their part number.
  • Tekra offers “hard coated” polyester and polycarbonate films which provide “enhanced scratch and abrasion resistance”. “HC” is included in the material description. 
  • MacDermid offers “hard coated” polyester films for both screen printing and in-mold decorating. “HC” is included in the material description.

All untreated (uncoated) polyester and polycarbonate films can be scratched – abrasion can and does occur.

Typically standard conductive circuitry is printed on materials that are not scratch resistant. Why? Because although scratches do occur, they are only considered an issue if the traces are damaged.

Hard coating or abrasion resistant coatings were developed to protect the surface that the end user sees and touches. Membrane switch graphics and/or touch sensor lenses are the best examples where abrasion resistant or hard coated materials are used. In-mold decorated components or parts also use hard coated materials to provide a glossy, scratch free, surface.

Ultimately, it is all about quality and durability.