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    Description of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Universal Friction Testing Machine (UFTM)

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    This paper will describe the design features and physical characteristics of a prototype portable universal friction testing machine (UFTM) for obtaining direct indications of static and dynamic values of coefficient of friction (COF). The ability of the UFTM to make measurements of COFs as static values, and alternately as dynamic values, over a wide range of known surface sliding velocities makes it unique in this field.

    The UFTM causes two disks of identical footwear materials, mounted on a rotatable arm, to slide over a preselected surface. While a known constant weight rests on the footwear specimens, the UFTM accurately measures the torque required to rotate the specimens and indicates the COF value directly on a digital meter mounted in the instrument.

    The UFTM was designed expressly to enable NIOSH to measure COFs of industrial surfaces in order to find ways to minimize the large number of falls which result from slippery walking and working surfaces.


    friction, coefficient of friction, test methods, floors, safety engineering, skid resistance, footwear

    Author Information:

    Reed, ME
    Senior project engineer, Comstock and Wescott, Inc., Cambridge, Mass

    Mahon, RD
    Chief, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio

    Committee/Subcommittee: E17.21

    DOI: 10.1520/STP28737S