Abrasion occurs when a solid object slides across an another surface. When abrasion is caused by moving particles, it is called “mechanical abrasion” or “pipe abrasion.”
Pipe abrasion has become a major factor in the life expectancy of steel pipe. Since abrasion continuously occurs during use, abraded surface areas have to be constantly removed for proper function. This abraded area may take the form of wear ridges inside the pipe or corrosion pits on the surface which reduce flow velocity and provide sites for deposit formation that can impair water quality. Pipe abrasion can consistently lead to slab leaks in homes that are built upon concrete slab foundations with no basements.
The interaction between two materials is also known as abrasion because the physical contact between them constantly causes damage to both surfaces. It is an important abrasion mechanism in many of the most important industrial processes.
The abrasion resistance of a material can be measured using abrasion test machines that simulate abrasion under controlled conditions, or via hand-held “abradometer” instruments that measure the abraded surface area. The more abradant particles are used in experiments, generally the longer it takes to abrade through the pipe wall.
One way to minimize abrasive contact and maintain long service life is by using abrasion resistant (AR) piping, which is much harder on the same Brinnell Scale as abrasion resistant alloy.