Quantifying the uncertainty in tribometer measurements on walkway surfaces

Properly estimating and reporting the uncertainty of walkway surface friction is key to ensuring pedestrian safety. Here we quantified the amount and sources of uncertainty in friction measurements by having four users of four units of each of two walkway tribometer models (Slip-Test Mark IIIB, English XL) perform 12 measurements on four samples of four different surfaces that ranged from slippery to slip-resistant. We found that 51–82% of the total variance in the measurements was explained by the user, unit, sample and a user–unit interaction, which means that the variance a single user calculates from their own data does not capture most of the uncertainty in their measurements. Based on these data, the minimum uncertainty associated with the mean of a user’s measurements is ±0.064 (Mark IIIB) and ±0.072 (XL) to be 95% confident that their mean captures a surface’s available friction. Practitioner Summary: Walkway surface friction measurements are less accurate than they appear. Based on an experiment quantifying the amount and sources of uncertainty in surface friction measurements using two common tribometers, we quantified and report the minimum uncertainty that users can assign to their walkway surface friction measurements. Abbreviations: ANOVA: analysis of variance; ANSI: American National Standards Institute; CI: confidence interval; E: east; ILS: interlaboratory study; ISO: International Standards Organization; JCGM: joint committee for guides in metrology; N: north; S: south; SBR: styrene-butadiene rubber; SD: standard deviation; TR: test result; W: west

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    • © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Abstract reprinted with permission of Taylor & Francis.
  • Authors:
    • Siegmund, Gunter P
    • Blanchette, Mark G
    • Brault, John R
    • Chimich, Dennis D
    • Elkin, Benjamin S
  • Publication Date: 2021-3


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01769457
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 24 2021 3:00PM