The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) is calling upon designers and architects to embrace new standards for measuring a tile’s frictional resistance, closely related to traction and slipperiness. Designed to ensure that interior tiles meet the new requirement of greater than 0.42 when wet, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 's new Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (DCOF) AcuTest uses a thin film of 0.05% sodium lauryl sulfate solution that resembles the surface of a slippery tile—measuring not the flooring itself, but how the tester, lubricant, and tile surface interact.
Up until last year, the standard method for ensuring ceramic tile safety was to measure the Static Coefficient of Friction (SCOF), or the frictional resistance pushed against when one starts into motion. What’s the difference for DCOF? When we walk across a ceramic tile that is surprisingly slippery, or when we change the angle of force while in motion, more force is pressed upon the tile surface than the surface can resist. And changes in force are how a fall can happen.
“By adopting DCOF,” explains Noah Chitty, director of technical services at Crossville , “we have created a test method that more accurately relates to the way people walk, and ultimately the way they may fall. Given the automated nature of the equipment, the test has also become more repeatable and less operator dependent. This, along with its portability, has made the device much more useful for field measurements on installed tile.”
Previously, there was no required ANSI value for wet floors (static or dynamic). The new required value stems from extensive research in Europe and at TCNA, and will require manufacturers to completely retest their offerings when adapted for wide use in early 2014.