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Corrugated Matting

How Does Ribbed Rubber Matting Increase Friction and Slip-Resistance?

Ramp Cleat Rubber Mat leading down a cement ramp near grass and a curbAfter perusing our website, you may recall some of our ribbed rubber matting products which offer traction and slip-resistance due to a raised surface texture. Now, you may think that this is a bold claim. After all, how much more traction can a corrugated rubber surface offer over a smooth rubber surface? The answer may surprise you!

To understand how surface texture affects grip, let’s go over a few basics. “Friction is the force resisting the relative motion of solid surfaces, fluid layers, and/or material elements sliding against each other” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friction). An easy way to conceptualize this would be to press your hands together and rub them. The resistance you feel is friction. When walking on floors, we need friction to avoid slipping and falling.

Friction is generally greater when there are more points of contact; that is, if two objects are rubbing at many locations, there is more resistance and, in turn, more friction. To illustrate this concept, place your fingertips on a tabletop, and apply enough force to slide your fingers cross the surface. The resistance should be slight, and your fingertips should just glide across. Now, place your entire hand with an open palm on the same tabletop. Use the same amount of force as you did before. You should feel more resistance, and your hand should budge a little, if not cease to move entirely.

Woman pushing a stroller up ramp that is covered with ramp cleat rubber matThe point of that example was to illustrate how more points of contact generally equate to more friction. When considering corrugated rubber, the surface texture actually works in a similar way to how your hand moves across the desk. The skin and muscles on our hands are not stiff; they conform to other objects when force or pressure is applied. Thus, when you press your hand firmly onto a surface, your skin and muscles conform to the surface, which increases the points of contact.

The surface texture of ribbed rubber matting possesses similar characteristics present in the aforementioned example of the hand. Rubber has an inherent flexible quality which conforms to another object when force is applied. With a ribbed texture, the surface of the rubber matting has more flex and can further conform to objects like feet or wheelchairs. Therefore, the texture of corrugated rubber increases points of contact and thereby increases friction. Tires and shoes use the same technology, which is evidently effective considering its widespread use.

It’s simply science; ribbed rubber matting offers another degree of friction which prevents us from slipping and falling on our behinds. Products with corrugated rubber surfaces conform to our feet and maintain more points of contact for more friction. Yet, through all the scientific jargon, the easiest way to understand the concept of friction and surface texture would be to step on a ribbed mat and see for yourself