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Beatriz H. Thames and Stacey L. Gorniak

yet minimal grip force is known as slip force. The ratio between the tangential force and the slip force is known as the coefficient of friction (μ), a numerical value that provides a concrete method for comparing the frictional properties of the human hand. 2 , 3 Reduced μ values have been reported

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Dennis E. Anderson, Christopher T. Franck and Michael L. Madigan

The effects of gait speed and step length on the required coefficient of friction (COF) confound the investigation of age-related differences in required COF. The goals of this study were to investigate whether age differences in required COF during self-selected gait persist when experimentally-controlling speed and step length, and to determine the independent effects of speed and step length on required COF. Ten young and 10 older healthy adults performed gait trials under five gait conditions: self-selected, slow and fast speeds without controlling step length, and slow and fast speeds while controlling step length. During self-selected gait, older adults walked with shorter step lengths and exhibited a lower required COF. Older adults also exhibited a lower required COF when walking at a controlled speed without controlling step length. When both age groups walked with the same speed and step length, no age difference in required COF was found. Thus, speed and step length can have a large influence on studies investigating age-related differences in required COF. It was also found that speed and step length have independent and opposite effects on required COF, with step length having a strong positive effect on required COF, and speed having a weaker negative effect.

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Adriana V. Savescu, Mark L. Latash and Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky

This article proposes a technique to calculate the coefficient of friction for the fingertip– object interface. Twelve subjects (6 males and 6 females) participated in two experiments. During the first experiment (the imposed displacement method), a 3-D force sensor was moved horizontally while the subjects applied a specified normal force (4 N, 8 N, 12 N) on the surface of a sensor covered with different materials (sandpaper, cotton, rayon, polyester, and silk).The normal force and the tangential force (i.e., the force due to the sensor motion) were recorded. The coefficient of frictiond) was calculated as the ratio between the tangential force and the normal force. In the second experiment (the beginning slip method), a small instrumented object was gripped between the index finger and the thumb, held stationary in the air, and then allowed to drop. The weight (200 g, 500 g, and 1,000 g) and the surface (sandpaper, cotton, rayon, polyester, and silk) in contact with the digits varied across trials. The same sensor as in the first experiment was used to record the normal force (in a horizontal direction) and the tangential force (in the vertical direction). The slip force (i.e., the minimal normal force or grip force necessary to prevent slipping) was estimated as the force at the moment when the object just began to slip. The coefficient of friction was calculated as the ratio between the tangential force and the slip force. The results show that (1) the imposed displacement method is reliable; (2) except sandpaper, for all other materials the coefficient of friction did not depend on the normal force; (3) the skin–sandpaper coefficient of friction was the highest µd = 0.96 ± 0.09 (for 4-N normal force) and the skin–rayon rayon coefficient of friction was the smallest µd = 0.36 ± 0.10; (4) no significant difference between the coefficients of friction determined with the imposed displacement method and the beginning slip method was observed. We view the imposed displacement technique as having an advantage as compared with the beginning slip method, which is more cumbersome (e.g., dropped object should be protected from impacts) and prone to subjective errors owing to the uncertainty in determining the instance of the slip initiation (i.e., impeding sliding).

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Andrea Monte, Francesca Nardello and Paola Zamparo


The effects of different loads on kinematic and kinetic variables during sled towing were investigated with the aim to identify the optimal overload for this specific sprint training.


Thirteen male sprinters (100-m personal best: 10.91 ± 0.14 s) performed 5 maximal trials over a 20-m distance in the following conditions: unloaded and with loads from 15% to 40% of the athlete’s body mass (BM). In these calculations the sled mass and friction were taken into account. Contact and flight times, stride length, horizontal hip velocity (vh), and relative angles of hip, knee, and ankle (at touchdown and takeoff) were measured step by step. In addition, the horizontal force (Fh) and power (Ph) and maximal force (Fh0) and power (Ph0) were calculated.


vh, flight time, and step length decreased while contact time increased with increasing load (P < .001). These variables changed significantly also as a function of the step number (P < .01), except between the 2 last steps. No differences were observed in Fh among loads, but Fh was larger in sled towing than in unloaded. Ph was unaffected by load up to +20%BM but decreased with larger loads. Fh0 and Ph0 were achieved at 20%BM. Up to 20%BM, no significant effects on joint angles were observed at touchdown and takeoff, while at loads >30%BM joint angles tended to decrease.


The 20%BM condition represents the optimal overload for peak power production—at this load sprinters reach their highest power without significant changes in their running technique (eg, joint angles).

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Matthew A. Kilgas, Scott N. Drum, Randall L. Jensen, Kevin C. Phillips and Phillip B. Watts

Rock climbers believe chalk dries the hands of sweat and improves the static coefficient of friction between the hands and the surface of the rock. The purpose of this study was to assess whether chalk affects geometric entropy or muscular activity during rock climbing. Nineteen experienced recreational rock climbers (13 males, 6 females; 173.5 ± 7.0 cm; 67.5 ± 3.4 kg) completed 2 climbing trails with and without chalk. The body position of the climber and muscular activity of the finger flexors was recorded throughout the trial. Following the movement sequence participants hung from a standard climbing hold until they slipped from the climbing structure, while the coefficient of friction and the ratio of the vertical forces on the hands and feet were determined. Although there were no differences in the coefficient of friction (P = .748), geometric entropy (P = .359), the ratio of the vertical forces between the hands and feet (P = .570), or muscular activity (P = .968), participants were able to hang longer after the use of chalk 62.9 ± 36.7 s and 49.3 ± 25.2 s (P = .046). This is advantageous because it may allow for prolonged rests, and more time to plan the next series of climbing moves.

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Victoria H. Stiles and Sharon J. Dixon

Research suggests that heightened impacts, altered joint movement patterns, and changes in friction coefficient from the use of artificial surfaces in sport increase the prevalence of overuse injuries. The purposes of this study were to (a) develop procedures to assess a tennis-specific movement, (b) characterize the ground reaction force (GRF) impact phases of the movement, and (c) assess human response during impact with changes in common playing surfaces. In relation to the third purpose it was hypothesized that surfaces with greatest mechanical cushioning would yield lower impact forces (PkFz) and rates of loading. Six shod volunteers performed 8 running forehand trials on each surface condition: baseline, carpet, acrylic, and artificial turf. Force plate (960 Hz) and kinematic data (120 Hz) were collected simultaneously for each trial. Running forehand foot plants are typically characterized by 3 peaks in vertical GRF prior to a foot-off peak. Group mean PkFz was significantly lower and peak braking force was significantly higher on the baseline surface compared with the other three test surfaces (p < 0.05). No significant changes in initial kinematics were found to explain unexpected PkFz results. The baseline surface yielded a significantly higher coefficient of friction compared with the other three test surfaces (p < 0.05). While the hypothesis is rejected, biomechanical analysis has revealed changes in surface type with regard to GRF variables.

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Matt R. Cross, Farhan Tinwala, Seth Lenetsky, Scott R. Brown, Matt Brughelli, Jean-Benoit Morin and Pierre Samozino

force Estimated using experimentation or published equations. Magnitude is determined by the application of braking or loading, converted to effective resistance using a coefficient of friction. The coefficient may not be consistent and can change based on loading and/or velocity. Final value may

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Leigh J. Allin, Maury A. Nussbaum and Michael L. Madigan

fifth metatarsal head defined the foot. Required coefficient of friction (RCOF) was the peak ratio of the resultant transverse shear and vertical ground reaction forces after the heel contacted a force platform and the vertical ground reaction force exceeded 50 N. RCOF values were verified visually to

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Carl G. Mattacola, Carolina Quintana, Jed Crots, Kimberly I. Tumlin and Stephanie Bonin

energy-absorbing liner, and a retention system. The retention system keeps the helmet in position before and during an impact, while the outer shell distributes the force over a larger area, provides a low coefficient of friction, and reduces the ability of sharp objects to contact the head. The energy

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Paul F.J. Merkes, Paolo Menaspà and Chris R. Abbiss

aerodynamic drag; ρ is the air density; V g is the ground velocity of the participants in m·s −1 ; μ is a global coefficient of friction (ie, 0.006 for rough road 17 ); and F N is the normal force exerted by the bicycle tires on the rolling surface (essentially weight of the bicycle and participant