SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1990

Effect of Water-Film Thickness on Tire-Pavement Friction


The results of an extensive experimental investigation of the thin water films of thickness less than 0.38 mm (0.015 in.) on the tire-pavement friction are presented. Both laboratory and full-scale field tests involving new measuring equipment were conducted, and a new device was developed for laboratory measurement of rubber-surface friction. Also, a new apparatus was built to measure thickness of thin water films formed on pavement surfaces. The results from the laboratory and field tests indicate that the tire-pavement friction can decrease significantly at very thin water films from 0.025 to 0.230 mm (0.001 to 0.009 in.). A quantitative measure of the effect of water-film thickness on tire-pavement friction is proposed. The effects of tire, vehicle speed, and pavement texture on pavement wetness sensitivity are also investigated.

Author Information

Kulakowski, BT
Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Research Building B, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Harwood, DW
Midwest Research Institute, Kansas City, MO
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Developed by Committee: E17
Pages: 50–60
DOI: 10.1520/STP23352S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5110-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1391-6