General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

When metal is scratched does a small metal filing occur or a dent?

Asked by Ltryptophan (10269points) April 5th, 2010

Lots of the metal surfaces I see have small scratches. Are these scratches impressions or places where metal has been carved out? Generally I am talking about light scratches on metals like stainless countertops.

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6 Answers

libkay5's avatar

Depends on what caused the mar.

earthduzt's avatar

Yes some of the metal has been taken off, you can’t have negative space without removing something to cause it to have negative space. Even the smallest scratch has had minute particles of mass taken away from it. That is with scratches.

Dents on the other hand is just the bending of mass due to extreme force or heat vibrating the molecules that make up the metal so therefore the metal isn’t taken away it is just displaced and usually the only way to fix a dent is with heat again, vibrate the molecules again so the mass will be malleable.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

A dent is caused by an impact. Filings are created from friction. That’s not so much a dent as an abrasion.

UScitizen's avatar

The answer depends on the hardness of the metal, and the hardness of the the object making the impact. Read about the Mohs hardness scale: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohs_scale_of_mineral_hardness
... and how do I make a link smaller?

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Even taking relative hardnesses into consideration, whether material has been removed depends on the nature of the interaction. An impact will usually cause deformation, abrasion or cutting will remove material. The countertop that you describe has been abraded, which does involve removing material. That is why manufacturers reccommend cleaning with only certain materials, softer than the metal of the surface.

CodePinko's avatar

Either or both can happen.

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