Development of safe and resilient flooring with controlled slip under varying environments


The production and installation of resilient flooring in public and private buildings is a major business in Europe involving various sectors including material and coating production, designers, architects, installers, cleaners as well as end-users. The main requirements are: durability, ease of installation, optical appearance, ease of cleaning and low cost maintenance. On the other hand slip accidents are a major source of injury in Europe. The floorings industry is therefore challenged to develop flooring with improved slip behaviour under varying environmental conditions (humidity caused by rain or cleaning can reduce friction dramatically). Besides there is often a conflict of interest between decreasing slipperiness and maintaining ease of cleaning because conventional approaches to reduce slipperiness imply the macroscopic roughening of the surface resulting in the collection of dirt (problem in hospitals). With new standards and testing methods harmonised in Europe this problem becomes more prominent, requiring substantially new and innovative approaches to address the problem by the flooring industry, such as material suppliers, coating technology manufacturers, flooring installers, cleaners and companies developing testing methods.


SlipSafe involves the key players in the industry in an integrated bottom-up approach. Based on fundamental studies of the tribological phenomena of slip under varying environmental conditions, SlipSafe will develop new intelligent material formulations and processes to gain control of the interface between flooring and shoe. New technologies will allow the use of these new materials in flooring manufacturing as well as in an after-treatment process to renew existing or worn out floorings with anti-slip properties. A key aim is to at least double service life and to allow easy cleaning. An important factor will be development of a new testing method, allowing monitoring of slipperiness as a function of the wear of installed flooring material.