A research project under way at TRADA Technology Ltd aims to develop a test method to predict the wear resistance of floor seals for commercial and domestic wooden flooring.

The DTI is backing the research with £40,000 – 40% of the project funding – under the Partners in Innovation scheme. Industry partners include BonaKemi Ltd, Ronseal Ltd, Premiere Products, Junckers, Granwax Products Ltd and Akzo Nobel Woodcare.

The project continues work already carried out with DTI support. This includes the publication of a good practice guide to sealing wooden floors and a specifier guide for choosing the most suitable product.

Heading the project at TRADA is Peter Kaczmar, who says manufacturers are under pressure to develop new products, but have no fast-track way of accurately predicting performance in the short time frame available before commercial release.

The project will review as many existing abrasion test methods as possible and compare the results against field trials in highly to lightly trafficked conditions.

The best tests for predicting wear may be modified and combined to develop a single test device.

A prototype will be constructed against which all the main seal formulation categories will be tested and the results compared with the field trial results. Manufacturers using different operators will then put the method to the test, reporting back to TRADA which can make further refinements as required.