Understanding the erosion mechanism is a key to improve the performance of material subjected to erosive condition. Capability to predict the erosion mechanism could prove to be useful tool. In this work, a parameter named "erosion mechanism identifier," ξ, is proposed to predict the erosion mechanism in materials. Suitability of ξ in predicting erosion mechanism of ductile and brittle materials was evaluated using the data reported in the literature. It was observed that ξ is able to predict the erosion mechanism for both categories of material. The predictability of ξ was not restrained by different operating conditions. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.