Understanding Slip Testing

As you are going through the shopping mall, admiring the glossy surface of the ceramic tiles, you do not know how pendulum slip testing has helped in ensuring that you do not fall and end up spending days in a hospital. Slip testing is the process by which manufacturers get to test the walking surface of flooring materials and ensure that people do not keep slipping and falling. Today, the legal liabilities of any manufacturer, construction company or management of a public building, which does not use proper flooring material – material that has been tested and evidence produced.

There are several ways of conducting slip testing in different parts of the world. The standards used in Europe may differ from those used in North America. However, these methods are similar although the standards may differ.

The Pendulum Test
This is a test designed to measure how energy is lost due to friction. A standardized rubber-coated slider is slid across the test surface, and provides a standard value for slip resistance. The pendulum test can be done on dry surfaces and also surfaces covered in water or other slippery substance like oil. The test is done both in the lab and on the site. Surfaces that are heavily profiled will not be read well using the pendulum slip test. The Pendulum slip test is mostly used in Spain and the United Kingdom.

The Tribometer Test
This is a test that measures how much force is used in moving an object over a surface. The object, which has sliders, is pulled across the test surface and the force is determined over the full length of the floor. This is a test that can be done in the lab and also on-site. It is very popular in Germany, Austria and Poland.

The Ramp Test
This is another of the most widely used tests in the industry. The test requires a person to walk on the surface when it is on a tilted ramp. The person is wearing a harness to catch him when he finally slips. The test begins from a fully horizontal position, and then the ramp is slowly tiled and this goes on until the man finally slips from the surface. The angle at which he slips is then recorded and the results are given. If slipping occurs at low angles then the floor is not safe and needs to be changed. This is a test that can only be done in the lab. This test needs an operator who is well trained so the results can be standardized.

In conclusion
When you net walk on a ceramic surface walkway, imagine just how much testing is done within the lab and during the construction of the walkway to ensure that you are safe at all times. These tests are also done after the floor has been used for a while to ensure that repeated foot traffic has not worn it out. Should it fail the test, then it will have to be replaced with a new floor.