Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Computing, Engineering & Construction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. School of Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Paul Eason

Second Advisor

Dr. Murat Tiryakioglu

Third Advisor

Dr. Chitra Balasubramanian

Department Chair

Dr. Murat Tiryakioglu

College Dean

Dr. Mark A. Tumeo


A walkway tribometer measures the coefficient of friction between flooring material and a test foot. The value of the coefficient of friction is an indicator as to whether the flooring surface is slippery and has a propensity to cause slip and falls. This study determined that one style of tribometer, an XL Tribometer, mimics the heel-to-floor interaction of the human heel strike. High speed video footage revealed that the test foot strikes the surface and rotates so that full engagement occurs before sliding thus mimicking the affect of a human ankle. The test foot accelerates forward as would be expected during a human slip event. The manufacturer’s reported impact speed of 11 in/s, when set to the operating pressure of 25psi, was found to be much lower than measured speeds of three calibrated tribometers. Three XL tribometers were tested and provided a range of impact speeds from 17.4 to 22.7 in/s (n=540) when set to the operating pressure of 25 psi. The pressure setting was found to have a significant effect on the impact speed while the mast angle had an insignificant affect. A review of human walking studies revealed a range of pedestrian heel impact speeds on the order of 19.4 to 45.3 in/s during normal human ambulation activities. These tribometers fell on the low side of this speed range. A sensitivity study showed that the measured value of the coefficient of friction tends to decrease with a higher impact speed. This COF decrease was on the order of 0.02 and below the machine resolution and considered inconsequential within the walkway safety community.