Saxonian Institute of Surface Mechanics

Scratch-Stress Analyzer Product Series


The SSA® (Scratch-Stress Analyzer) is an easy-to-use software module of FilmDoctor® Studio which allows you to physically analyze any scratch test (adhesion test) including all measurement data provided by the test instrument. The SSA® enables you to conduct a physical analysis of scratch tests as it evaluates the distribution of 28 field components (e.g. von Mises stress, normal stresses, shear stresses, etc.) in the contact-stress field of the sample for each breakpoint of the scratch test and presents them as an animation. Thus, generic physical material properties such as critical stresses of all fracture modes can be determined exactly. Therefore, the Scratch-Stress Analyzer (SSA®) does not only take into account simple material structures (e.g. monolithic samples), but also includes surface structures (e.g. superlattice coating systems with up to 100 layers, gradients etc.).

Physical characterization of surfaces by means of scratch testing
mechanical characterization of arbitrary structured surfaces (e.g. multilayer coatings) by means of physical analyzes of scratch tests (for instance nano scratch test, micro scratch test) or tribology tests

Additionally, the Scratch-Stress Analyzer enables you to simulate scratch tests on potentially relevant surfaces (e.g. depending on surface roughness) and, hence, safes a lot for time of the experimental measurements. The required physical material parameters of the system can be determined by using our measurement analysis service, our software O&PfC®, or our Material DataBase.

Evolution of normal stress distribution of a scratch test
Evolution of normal stress distribution (as cross section in scratch direction and depth) of a scratch test in a 1µm thick TiAlN coating on a rim hardened steel with a spherical indenter, 50µm radius, an initial normal load of 10mN, and end normal load of 100mN.


The features covered below are features of the model on which this product series is based. Therefore, they may differ from the capabilities of the individual editions as they are not all completely implemented in all editions.

Supported Material Structures

This software series[?] allows you to analyze among others the following surface structures by evaluation of mechanical contact measurements:

  • multi-layer coatings (up to 100 layers)
  • thin films (theoretically down to 1 angstroem*)
  • thick films (theoretically unlimited*)
  • with intrinsic/thermal stresses and gradients of it (functional)
  • laminate structures
  • composites
  • nano-particle-enhanced coatings (nanotubes, fullerenes, ...)
  • inclusions and defects not only within layers but also at interfaces
  • superlattice
  • homogeneous monolithic bulk materials (e.g. substrate only)

* Practically it depends on capabilities (e.g. the resolution and noise floor) of your measurement instrument.

Evolution of von Mises stress distribution of a scratch test
Evolution of von Mises stress distribution of the above mentioned scratch test.

Measurement Conditions

Among others, the following measurement conditions and measurement effects can be taken into account for the evaluation of mechanical surface measurements by this measurement analysis software series[?]:

  • multi-axial loads (normal, lateral, and rotating loads)
  • tilting and deflection of the indenter
  • actual indenter shape, hence also edges and asymmetry of indenter tips (e.g. required for Berkowich and Vickers tips)
  • surface roughess, actual three-dimensional surface topography and surface curvature (e.g. from 3D pre-scan by AFM), respectively
  • creep / sink-in: time-dependent material properties of viscous or visco-elastic materials (e.g. polymers)
  • pile-up / residual stresses of ductile materials, plastic deformation, fractures/cracks of brittle materials[?]
  • friction between surface and indenter
  • temperature gradients / fields (e.g. necessary for high temperature measurements or tribology tests)
  • weak interfaces / poor interface adhesion

Evaluable Contact Measurements

The SSA®[?] enables you to analyze the following mechanical surface measurements:

  • scratch tests, adhesion tests, and scratch resistance tests
  • tribology tests like wear tests and friction tests (pin-on-disc, ball-on-disc and so on)
  • also in high temperature range
  • and many more

Mechanical Characterization

The most important aim of mechanical characterization is the evaluation of generic material properties, which are independent of measurement conditions (like material structure of the sample, initial and final load, velocity etc.). Hence, it is necessary to take all these measurement conditions into account to evaluate such a measurement properly. That is why we have developed a general analytic solution for all contact problems in the elastic regime. Thus, SSA® is capable of calculating - among others - the following generic mechanical material properties[?]:

  • yield strength of each layer or substrate
  • tensile strength
  • adhesive strength
  • critical stresses of all fracture modes (mode I crack, mode II crack, mode III crack)

Only these generic physical material properties can be reused in nearly any other surface structure (e.g. for surface optimization by means of modeling and simulation) without being obliged to repeat the characterization.

Information Material

Connection to Measurement Equipment

The following measurement equipment manufacturers already provide a direct export interface to our software, which convert measurement data directly into our format:

  • Anton Paar (formerly CSM Instruments)
  • ASMEC GmbH - member of Zwick/Roell

Further manufacturers are still developing and will follow soon.

Available in our Online Shop

SSA® Scratch Test Analysis Software (2 products)
SSA® Light v0.5 (download)
  • 1 layer
  • taking 2D pre-scans into account
  • taking 2D post-scans into account
  • true coating properties:
    • critical tensile stress (σTS)
    • critical shear stresses (τ)
add to shopping cart
3,000.00 €
  • 5 layers
  • taking 2D or 3D pre-scans into account
  • taking 2D or 3D post-scans into account
  • true coating properties:
    • critical tensile stress (σTS)
    • critical shear stresses (τ)
add to shopping cart
10,000.00 €

System Requirements

Minimum* Optimum
operating system: Microsoft Windows XP SP3
Microsoft Windows Vista
Microsoft Windows 8
Microsoft Windows 7
word size: 32 or 64 bit 32 or 64 bit
CPU: 2 cores
1 GHz
≥ 4 cores × 2 threads
≥ 2 GHz
RAM: 512 MB ≥ 4 GB
free HDD space: 24 MB (in system partition)
500 MB (for project files)
24 MB (in system partition)
≥ 3 GB (for project files)
screen: 1024 x 768 pixel
16 bit color depth
1920 x 1080 pixel
32 bit color depth
anti-virus software: Read information!
access rights for installation: administrator rights
access rights for use: user rights administrator rights
* If your computer meets only the minimum system requirements, the operation comfort (usability) and operating speed might be restricted.

Please ask us for more information!

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