Date of Award

Spring 1964

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Surak, John G.

Second Advisor

Pyle, J. J.

Third Advisor

Kittsley, S. L.


Decorative plastic laminates have largely taken over kitchen table, counter top, and bar applications in the last 20 years. Of the many available types of decorative laminates, melamine-surfaced phenolic laminates, produced under high pressure, show outstanding abrasion and wear resistant qualities. Wherever hard usage is encountered, these laminated tops can be relied upon to do an excellent job in providing colorful easily cleaned, scratch and wear resistant surfaces. A literature search for methods of testing abrasion and wear resistance of these laminated surfaces shows that for the past 20 years there have been more test methods than absolute results. Grinding wheels, fresh sandpaper surfaces, show soles and tooth brushes with sand, windblown or falling particles, rain drops, and even washing machines have been employed to obtain a reproducible wear or abrasion factor. With this multiplicity of test methods available, there is little wonder that much confusion and lack of correlation and reproducibility exist in measuring the ability of laminate surfaces to maintain original color or design under abrasive wear. Association members of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), a non-profit trade association engaged in the development of industry product standards to facilitate understanding between the manufacturers and users of their products, have undertaken studies of these tests to determine which procedure provides the best measure of abrasion and wear resistance. The current Taber Abrasion Test has been adopted as the industry standard. Additional studies on the type and source of sandpaper employed in this test, preconditioning of this sandpaper, standardization of abrader head weights and relationship of the laminate film thickness to the rate of wear have been undertaken at periodic intervals. However, these studies were of a limited scope and it is indicated in the Decorative Laminate Advisory Technical Committee of NEMA minutes that contradictory results were obtained. A complete follow-up on these or related factors has never been undertaken. The results of NEMA's work have never been published. It is the purpose of this work to study and statistically evaluate, wherever possible, those factors which affect the measurement of abrasion and wear resistance of decorative laminates.



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