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C14 GLASS AND GLASS PRODUCTS C21 CERAMIC WHITEWARES AND RELATED PRODUCTS D01 PAINT AND RELATED COATINGS, MATERIALS, AND APPLICATIONS D06 D09 ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC INSULATING MATERIALS D10 PACKAGING D11 RUBBER D12 SOAPS AND OTHER DETERGENTS D13 TEXTILES D14 ADHESIVES D15 ENGINE COOLANTS AND RELATED FLUIDS D20 PLASTICS D21 POLISHES D31 LEATHER E12 COLOR AND APPEARANCE E18 SENSORY EVALUATION E20 TEMPERATURE MEASUREMENT E35 PESTICIDES, ANTIMICROBIALS, AND ALTERNATIVE CONTROL AGENTS E41 LABORATORY APPARATUS E53 ASSET MANAGEMENT E57 3D IMAGING SYSTEMS F02 FLEXIBLE BARRIER PACKAGING F05 BUSINESS IMAGING PRODUCTS F06 RESILIENT FLOOR COVERINGS F08 SPORTS EQUIPMENT, PLAYING SURFACES, AND FACILITIES F09 TIRES F10 LIVESTOCK, MEAT, AND POULTRY EVALUATION SYSTEMS F11 VACUUM CLEANERS F13 PEDESTRIAN/WALKWAY SAFETY AND FOOTWEAR F14 FENCES F15 CONSUMER PRODUCTS F16 FASTENERS F24 AMUSEMENT RIDES AND DEVICES F26 FOOD SERVICE EQUIPMENT F27 SNOW SKIING F37 LIGHT SPORT AIRCRAFT F43 LANGUAGE SERVICES AND PRODUCTS F44 GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT D21 POLISHES D26 HALOGENATED ORGANIC SOLVENTS AND FIRE EXTINGUISHING AGENTS D33 PROTECTIVE COATING AND LINING WORK FOR POWER GENERATION FACILITIES E05 FIRE STANDARDS E27 HAZARD POTENTIAL OF CHEMICALS E30 FORENSIC SCIENCES E34 OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY E35 PESTICIDES, ANTIMICROBIALS, AND ALTERNATIVE CONTROL AGENTS E52 FORENSIC PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY E54 HOMELAND SECURITY APPLICATIONS E58 FORENSIC ENGINEERING F06 RESILIENT FLOOR COVERINGS F08 SPORTS EQUIPMENT, PLAYING SURFACES, AND FACILITIES F10 LIVESTOCK, MEAT, AND POULTRY EVALUATION SYSTEMS F12 SECURITY SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT F13 PEDESTRIAN/WALKWAY SAFETY AND FOOTWEAR F15 CONSUMER PRODUCTS F18 ELECTRICAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT FOR WORKERS F23 PERSONAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT F26 FOOD SERVICE EQUIPMENT F32 SEARCH AND RESCUE F33 DETENTION AND CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES G04 COMPATIBILITY AND SENSITIVITY OF MATERIALS IN OXYGEN ENRICHED ATMOSPHERES
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Testing Polished Floor Safety

ASTM Committee D21 Marks 50th Anniversary of Standard D2047

Whether in an office building or on a basketball court, the safety of a polished floor is crucial to those walking, running or playing on it. Since 1964, ASTM International Committee D21 on Polishes has significantly contributed to floor safety through ASTM D2047, Test Method for Static Coefficient of Friction of Polish-Coated Flooring Surfaces as Measured by the James Machine. D2047 is the only currently used and accepted standard that has a numerical value that polished floors must meet or exceed in order to be in compliance.

D2047, developed by Subcommittee D21.06 on Slip Resistance, is primarily used by floor polish manufacturers, polish specifiers and end users. The roots of D2047 can be traced to the late 1930s and Sidney James of Underwriters Laboratories, the inventor of the machine used in this standard. The impetus for this standard was provided by the U.S. General Services Administration, the world’s largest purchaser of polishes in the late 1940s.

D2047 is unique among slip standards in that it provides a compliance criterion for whether a tested polish film will provide a safe walkway surface and whether the term “slip resistant” can be applied to a polish. The compliance criterion is based on a correlation of polish friction data from D2047 with the pedestrian experience of billions of passes over millions and millions of square feet of polished floors from 1942 through the mid-1970s. The experiential data was collected by an independent accounting firm for the Chemical Specialties Manufacturers Association. They found that if a polish produced a value of 0.5, or higher, when measured by D2047, no pedestrian slip incidents that could be attributed to the polish occurred. Later, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (congressionally mandated to resolve conflicting advertising claims for “slip resistant” polishes) ruled that only polishes that passed the compliance criterion of D2047 could be termed as slip resistant.

The James machine was designed to measure the static coefficient of friction of an interface of a dried polish film in contact with a specification leather sensor. Since friction is not a property of a surface but of an interface, holding one surface of the interface (the specification leather) constant will provide a measure of the friction contribution of various polish surfaces to the interface. This method does this with a high degree of repeatability and reproducibility, as shown in ASTM Research Report RR: D21-1000.

The polish data generated by D2047 is the only data that has been correlated with extensive pedestrian experience, and so it is the only data for which the compliance criterion is valid. The substitution of a different sensor for the specification leather, changing the machine design to measure the dynamic coefficient of friction, or contaminating the frictional interface with water or other substance, will produce data from a different interface than that of D2047, so the correlation of the conformance criterion of D2047 no longer exists.

While conformance with D2047 and its compliance criterion is a primary requirement for polished floor safety, regular, routine maintenance is also an important part of pedestrian safety. “All floor surfaces can become dangerous when they become contaminated or wet, or are not maintained as prescribed by the polish manufacturer,” notes Alan Ruzicka, president, Westside Engineering, Malibu, California, and chairman of Committee D21. “This maintenance requirement applies to all of the polished indoor floorings substrates of D2047, including vinyl composition, wood, terrazzo, vinyl, marble urethanes, concrete and ceramics.

With more than a half-century of consistently predictable and accurate testing results behind it, the ASTM D2047 standard continues to be the go-to standard for the floor polish industry, including their manufacturers, material suppliers and all users of floor polish.

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.