Difference between abrasion and attrition
abrasion vs attrition:
While abrasion and attrition are two terms that are being confused and sometimes even used synonymously by people, these two terms are entirely different words which are used in different contexts. First off, we may examine the terms abrasion and attrition individually prior to distinguishing the difference between the two words.
What is abrasion?
Abrasion occurs as a result of materials rubbing or abrading against each other. This refers to the wearing down of a particular thing because of this process of scraping. This usually occurs when a hard and rough surface rubs against a softer surface which eventually results in the wearing down of the softer surface. Abrasion can even occur between two rough surfaces when the friction between the two results in the wearing down of both the surfaces. Abrasion refers to superficial destruction which means only surface level wearing down. For example, one can say that the abrasion on his wrist was a result of his fall in the basket ball court, scraping his wrist against a wall.
What is attrition?
Attrition occurs when hard objects hit against each other and is eroded as a result. This occurs in the gradual breaking down of an object and has long term and much serious internal effects on the object that is being subjected to attrition. For example, one can point out rocks hitting against each other in a stream or a river which leads to the gradual break down of these rocks making them smaller in size as a result. Attrition can also be used to signify a reduction in numbers, size or in strength. For example, one can say that the high attrition rate of sales had caused many investors to withdraw their investments from the company.
What is the difference between attrition and abrasion?
While the terms abrasion and attrition both refer to the wearing down or the reducing of an object or a substance, these two bear different connotations on different contexts. While abrasion occurs as a result of two surfaces rubbing against each other, whether it be a hard surface rubbing against a softer one or two hard surfaces rubbing against each other, the end result is the wearing down of one or both the surfaces. Yet, attrition refers to the breaking off of particles which occurs as a result of objects hitting against each other as opposed to rubbing against each other. Attrition too is a type of a wearing down and yet, this type of wearing down happens in a larger scale as this involves breaking off of whole parts as opposed to the gradual wearing down.
While abrasion happens on a surface level, attrition can cause more deeper damage. Also, the damages caused by attrition can be long term as opposed to abrasion damage which occurs slowly and gradually. Therefore one can say that abrasion is a more surface level form of destruction whereas attrition causes deeper and more serious destruction which is often long term.