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Measuring surface frictional properties using british pendulum skid

resistance tester.
Related Theory
The British Pendulum Skid Resistance Tester is an impact type pendulum used to measure the
energy loss when a rubber slider edge is propelled over a test surface.
The values measured represent the frictional properties and are expressed as BPN (British
Pendulum Number).
Skidding
In skidding phenomenon, the distance travelled by wheel on the road is more than the
circumferential movement.
When brakes are applied, wheels get locked and still if the vehicle moves ahead, longitudinal
skidding is said to occur.
Slipping
In slipping, the distance traveled by wheel on the road is less than the circumferential movement.
If the wheels of the vehicle are rotating but the vehicle is not moving forward, then slipping is
said to occur.
Measurement of texture depth
It is also necessary to record the surface texture of the road surface tested. This is measured by
Sand Patch Method.
A known volume of fine sand of uniform particle size is poured on the road and spread to form a
patch of a regular shape so that its area could be measured. Sand should be spread in such a
manner that all valleys are filled to level of peaks. Then the texture depth can be computed
by using the formula;

Texture depth =

ROAD SURFACE TEXTURE


Coarse/Open Texture
Medium Texture
Fine Texture

VOLUME OF SAND
AREA OF PATCH

TEXTURE DEPTH
0.02
0.02 0.01
0.01

More the texture depth, better is the road surface but a high value of texture depth also increases
the chances of severe injuries.

SCOPE & SIGNIFICANCE

Friction between vehicle and road surface plays a vital role in determining the maximum
operating speed and the distance required in safely stopping the vehicles.

Road pavements are designed to provide reasonably high coefficient of friction but with the
movement of traffic, the aggregates in the wearing coarse of the road get polished resulting
in reduction of the frictional or skid resistance of the road.

British Pendulum Tester is used to measure the frictional resistance of road at sections which
appear to be potentially slippery and unsafe against skidding.

British Pendulum Tester is used for field and laboratory tests.

FACTORS AFFECTING SKIDDING RESISTANCE

Condition of Tires Vehicles having smooth tires would have slightly lower skidding
resistance.

Effect of Road Temperature Skidding resistance of wet roads is higher in winter than in
summer. Skidding resistance of roads is at its lowest between April and September. So roads
with satisfactory values in winter may prove slippery during summer.

Effect of Water Skidding resistance is lower on wet than on dry pavements.

Type of aggregate sand stones and granites are more resistant to polishing action than
limestone.

Higher the skid-resistance results, better is the road surface but a high value of skidresistance also increases the chances of severe injuries.

APPARATUS
(a) Parts
Slider Slider assembly consists of an aluminum backing plate to which a rubber strip
3 x 1 x is bonded.
Leveling screws
Scale
Drag pointer

Locking and control knobs


Frictional rings

(b) Accessories
Contact path gauge shall consist of a thin ruler suitably marked for measuring contact
path length between (4 7/8 and 5).
Water container
Surface thermometer and
Brush.

PREPARATION OF APPARATUS
1.

Leveling apparatus is levelled using 3 levelling screws until the bubble is centered in the
spirit level.

2.

Zero adjustment raise the pendulum mechanism by loosening locking knob, till it
swings free of test surface. Tighten the knob. Place pendulum in release position and drag
pointer in horizontal position. Execute a free swing and note the pointer reading. If reading
is not zero; make adjustment by friction ring until pendulum swing carries the pointer to
zero.

3.

Slide length adjustment with pendulum hanging free, place spacer under adjusting
screw of lifting handle and allow pendulum to move slowly to the left until the edge of the
slider touches the surface. Place gauge beside slider and parallel to the direction of swing to
verify the length of contact path which should be between (4 7/8 and 5) on flat surfaces
as measured from trailing edge to trailing edge of the rubber slider.
Place pendulum in release position and rotate drag pointer counter clockwise until it comes
to original position.
Inspect the road and choose the section to be tested. Set the apparatus so that the slider
swings in the direction of traffic.

TEST PROCEDURE

Apply sufficient water to cover the test area thoroughly. Execute one swing but dont record
reading.
Make four more swings, rewetting the test area each time and record the results. The
readings should not differ by more than 3 units.
Report the individual values as B.P.N. also note down the age, condition, texture and location
of test area.

OBSERVATIONS & CALCULATIONS


TEXTURE DEPTH
Dimensions of
Patch
Group
(cm x cm)
1

AREA

Volume of Sand

(cm2)

(ml = cm3)

Texture Depth
(cm)

(inches)

SkidResistance
(BPN)

Mean
(BPN)

BRITISH PENDULUM NUMBER


Group
1
2

Date

Distance
from

Distance
(m)

Surface
Texture
(in)

CATEGORY

TYPE OF SITE

Most difficult sites such as;


i)- Roundabouts
ii)- Bends with radius less
than 500 ft on
derestricted roads.
iii)- Gradients, 1 in 20 or
steeper, of length
greater than 100 yd.
iv)- Approach to traffic
lights on derestricted
roads.

SKID
RESISTANCE
ON WET
SURFACE

STANDARD OF
SKIDDING
RESISTANCE
REPRESENTED

Above 65

Good: fulfilling
the requirements
even of fast traffic,
and making it most
unlikely that the
road will be the
scene of repeated
accidents.

B*

General requirements, i.e.


roads and conditions not
covered by categories A &
C.

Above 55

Generally
Satisfactory:
meeting all but the
most difficult
conditions
encountered on the
roads.

C*

Easy sites, e.g. straight


roads, with easy gradients
and curves, without
junctions, and free from
any features, such as mixed
traffic, especially liable to
create conditions of
emergency.

Above 45

Satisfactory only
in favorable
circumstances.

Potentially
Slippery
* On smooth-looking or fine-textured roads in these categories, vehicles having smooth
tyres may not find skid-resistance adequate. For such road accident studies should also be
made to ensure that there are no indications of difficulties due to skidding under wet
conditions.
D

COMMENTS

All sites

Below 45