Larson Institute hosts international friction workshop

Michael Casper
May 16, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Fifty-two registrants from France, Norway, Canada, Japan and the United States were represented at the 2013 International Friction Workshop hosted by the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Institute from May 13 to 16 at Penn State.

Previously a long-standing tradition at the NASA Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia, the workshop was relocated to the Larson Institute's facilities in 2009. The workshop is part of a research initiative to revise existing American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) specifications for the calibration and quality assurance of continuous friction measuring devices. This research is warranted because the number of friction measurement devices used today for the assessment of surface conditions on highways and airports is numerous, with a significant number of design and operational differences. ASTM governs most of the standards under which this equipment operates.

"The continued success and growth of this workshop is a testament to the need for interaction among the world's friction measurement systems and for the unifying standard we are developing," said workshop organizer Zoltan Rado.

This year for the first time, a portion of the testing of these devices is taking place at the University Park Airport, in addition to the Larson Institute's test track facility.

"This is a great opportunity for the airport and for our personnel," said Brian Rodgers, the airport's director. "When Dr. Rado contacted us, it was a no-brainer to pursue this partnership. For our personnel, especially those involved with winter snow removal, it's beneficial to have a chance to interact with the individuals taking part in the International Friction Workshop. And with the Larson Institute increasing its involvement with FAA programs, we look forward to future opportunities to work together."

A total of 19 devices were collecting data, comprising 10 highway speed and nine spot measurement devices. Workshop presentations were given at the Ramada Inn Hotel and Conference Center in State College. Activities at the Larson Institute's full-scale test track facility and at the University Park Airport included comparison of performance of the ASTM E1551 test tire manufactured by two different tire companies, ASTM 2883 testing, water distribution profiles measured for each high speed device, correlation of participating high-speed friction measuring devices at three different speeds and on eight different surfaces, correlation of low-speed and stationary friction and texture measuring devices, measurement of bias and repeatability of the German-made ELAtextur device, and demonstration of two new Japanese profiling devices.

The Larson Institute conducts a range of driver and vehicle research at its test track facility, from driver perception and reaction to vehicle and barrier crash testing. For more information about student learning opportunities at the Larson Institute, contact Zoltan Rado at Additional information about the institute is available at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated June 07, 2013