In the automotive world, there has been a lot of discussion regarding the level of hardness of ceramic coatings but today we are here to put an end to this preposterous debate.

First of all, you’ll see some manufacturers offering a higher grade than 9H protection and you will be probably wondering, how is this possible.

Most of the nanoceramic coatings have a maximum of 9H hardness per single layer, unless, you can apply extra layers of protection.

What Is H

Hardness (H) is the ability of a material to resist deformation and it’s commonly measured by the Moh’s Scale.

Now, scratch hardness is the measure of how resistant a surface is to fracture or permanent deformation due to friction from a sharp object. The whole idea is that an object that it’s made out of a harder material will scratch an object made out of a softer material.

How Ceramic Coating Manufacturers Measure The H

The pencil scale test is the way manufacturers use to determine the ‘grade’ of a ceramic coating. Some manufacturers use the Mohs Scale of hardness but others use the simple method of the pencil scale test.

The pencil scale is a test of hardness that helps explain how ‘hard’ the ceramic coating will be once applied on a surface and the grade ranges are 0 to 9.

What is the Mohs Scale of Hardness?

Basically, what this guy did was to create a hardness scale that determines how much one mineral damages another. Here is the Mohs’ Scale:

 Material Mohs Hardness Absolute Hardness
Talc 1 1
Gypsum 2 2
Calcite 3 14
Fluorite 4 21
Apatite 5 48
Orthoclase feldspar 6 72
Quartz 7 100
Topaz 8 200
Corundum 9 400
Diamond 10 1500

Can You Achieve A Higher Grade? (Theoretically) 

In order to measure the resistance from scratches, there is a scientific scale of a minimum of 9H to a maximum of 12H. This rating is based on the Pencil Hardness Test commonly used by manufacturers to determine the hardness of a surface.

So, based on this test, you can theoretically achieve it by using these 3 variations below:

  • Applying 1 layer of ceramic coating you achieve 500 absolute thickness and 9H scratch resistance
  • Applying 2 layers you achieve 1000 absolute thickness and 11H scratch resistance
  • Applying 3 layers you can achieve 1500 absolute thickness and 12H scratch resistance

What Is Ceramic Coating Made Of

Ceramic coatings have a high-quality, complicated formula in order to provide strength and hydrophobic properties. Although, some of the basic components are:

  • Nano SiO2
  • Nano TiO2
  • Activation of Fluorine

Of course, there are more ingredients like Brightening Silicon Particles, Polysilazane, that help create a bond that penetrates the pores of your surfaces and forms an invisible protective membrane.


Constantine Stephan

Constantine Stephan is the Founder and Chief Editor of Nanex.
What Is 9H and H In General