Development of new footwear sole surface pattern for prevention of slip-related falls

In this study, a new rubber surface pattern for a footwear sole was developed to prevent slip-related falls. This pattern shows a high static coefficient of friction (SCOF) and a high dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) when sliding against a liquid contaminated surface. A hybrid rubber block, in which a rubber block with a rough surface (Ra = 30.4 μm) was sandwiched between two rubber blocks with smooth surfaces (Ra = 0.98 μm), was prepared. The ratio of the rough surface area to the whole rubber block surface area r was 0%, 30%, 50%, 80%, and 100%. The coefficient of friction of the rubber blocks was measured when sliding against a stainless steel plate with Ra of 0.09 μm contaminated with a 90% aqueous solution of glycerol. While the SCOF increased with an increase of the rough surface area ratio r, the DCOF during steady-state sliding decreased with an increase of the rough surface area ratio r. The rough surface area ratio of 50% achieved a SCOF value around 0.5 or more and a DCOF value greater than 0.5. Furthermore, the difference in the value of the SCOF and DCOF was the smallest for the rubber block with r of 50%. The results indicated that the rubber block with r of 50% would be applicable to a footwear sole surface pattern to prevent slip and fall accidents on contaminated surfaces.

Source : Yamaguchi T, Umetsu T, Ishizuka Y, Kasuga K, Ito T, Ishizawa S, Hokkirigawa K. Safety Sci. 2012; 50(4): 986-994.

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