ASTM G194 - 08(2013)

    Standard Test Method for Measuring Rolling Friction Characteristics of a Spherical Shape on a Flat Horizontal Plane

    Active Standard ASTM G194 | Developed by Subcommittee: G02.50

    Book of Standards Volume: 03.02


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    ASTM G194

    Significance and Use

    5.1 Rolling friction like sliding friction depends upon many factors. It is a system effect that involves the nature of the rolling surface and the counterface. The sliding friction force (F) is usually considered to be the sum of forces arising from deformations of surface features (Fs), from attractive forces (atomic, molecular, etc.) at contact points (Fa) and force from interaction of films and particulates on the rubbing surfaces (Ff):

    Equation G0194-08R13_1
    The rolling friction force includes these force contributions plus effects from the relative stiffness of the contacting surfaces, the diameter (curvature) of the spherical shape (ball, orange, etc.) and other factors. Because there are so many factors involved in a rolling tribosystem, rolling resistance can best be quantified by an actual test of the sphere of interest on the intended counterface, as in this test method.

    5.2 There are countless applications where it is important to quantify the rolling characteristics of a particular spherical shape on a particular surface. The interlaboratory tests conducted for this test method were performed on hardened steel balls like those used in ball bearings. This test method could be used to assess the effect of different counterface surfaces on the rolling characteristics of balls for ball bearings. Conversely, it could be used as a quality control test on balls. Surface imperfections/defects/films, etc. on the balls can affect how they roll: the distance traveled on a common counterface.

    5.3 Industrial applications of this test method can include assessing conveying surfaces for spherical or nearly special parts: check valve balls, cabinet knobs, Christmas ornaments, toilet floats, etc. Many medical devices use special shapes where rolling characteristics are a consideration. Similarly, many pharmaceutical products (pills) are spherical or nearly spherical in shape, and this test method can be used to assess rolling characteristics for conveying or other reasons such as size (mass) check.

    5.4 Rolling friction of spherical shapes can be a consideration in countless sports (soccer, golf, lacrosse, etc.) and game applications (billiards, bocce, toys, etc.). This test method can be used to rank the rolling resistance of different ball compositions, masses, shapes, surface textures, design, stiffness, etc. Similarly, the test method can be used to assess the ease of rolling of balls on different playing or game surfaces.

    5.5 This test method is very applicable to spherical or mostly spherical food products. For example, it is common to use rolling distance of apples, citrus, nuts, etc. to classify them by size for marketing. They are rolled down an angled surface and the rolling distance becomes a function of size (mass/diameter). This test method can be used to assess the suitability of various rolling surfaces (carpet, metal, wood, etc.) for suitability in classification equipment. It could also be used for food conveyance on spherical-shaped processed foods (gumballs, hard candy, meatballs, etc.)

    5.6 Finally, this test method can be a valuable teaching tool for physics and tribology students. The equipment is simple, low cost and student proof. It can be used to demonstrate the concept of rolling friction and the factors that affect it.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the use of an angled launch ramp to initiate rolling of a sphere or nearly spherical shape on a flat horizontal surface to determine the rolling friction characteristics of a given spherical shape on a given surface.

    1.1.1 Steel balls on a surface plate were used in interlaboratory tests (see Appendix X1). Golf balls on a green, soccer and lacrosse balls on playing surfaces, bowling balls on an a lane, basketballs on hardwood, and marbles on composite surface were tested in the development of this test method, but the test applies to any sphere rolling on any flat horizontal surface.

    1.1.2 The rolling friction of spheres on horizontal surfaces is affected by the spherical shape’s stiffness, radius of curvature, surface texture, films on the surface, the nature of the counterface surface; there are many factors to consider. This test method takes all of these factors into consideration. The spherical shape of interest is rolled on the surface of interest using a standard ramp to initiate rolling and standard techniques to measure and treat the rolled distance after leaving the ramp.

    1.1.3 This test method produces a rolling resistance number on a specific spherical shape on a specific surface. It is intended for comparing similar tribosystems. For example, the rolling resistances of marbles on a particular surface are not to be compared with the rolling resistance of soccer balls on grass, because their masses and diameters are very different as are the counterface surfaces on which they roll.

    1.1.4 Different launch ramps for are appropriate for different types of spherical shapes. If a sphere of interest cannot be accommodated with using one of the launch ramps discussed in Appendix X1 and Appendix X2, a different launch ramp can be developed and added with future revisions to this test method.

    1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    G40 Terminology Relating to Wear and Erosion

    G115 Guide for Measuring and Reporting Friction Coefficients

    G143 Test Method for Measurement of Web/Roller Friction Characteristics


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 17.040.20 (Properties of surfaces)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 41114600(Metals and metallurgy and structural materials testing instruments)


    DOI: 10.1520/G0194

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