A comparison of Coulomb and pseudo-Coulomb friction implementations: Application to the table contact phase of gymnastics vaulting.

Research paper by M I MI Jackson, M J MJ Hiley, M R MR Yeadon

Indexed on: 06 Sep '11Published on: 06 Sep '11Published in: Journal of biomechanics


In the table contact phase of gymnastics vaulting both dynamic and static friction act. The purpose of this study was to develop a method of simulating Coulomb friction that incorporated both dynamic and static phases and to compare the results with those obtained using a pseudo-Coulomb implementation of friction when applied to the table contact phase of gymnastics vaulting. Kinematic data were obtained from an elite level gymnast performing handspring straight somersault vaults using a Vicon optoelectronic motion capture system. An angle-driven computer model of vaulting that simulated the interaction between a seven segment gymnast and a single segment vaulting table during the table contact phase of the vault was developed. Both dynamic and static friction were incorporated within the model by switching between two implementations of the tangential frictional force. Two vaulting trials were used to determine the model parameters using a genetic algorithm to match simulations to recorded performances. A third independent trial was used to evaluate the model and close agreement was found between the simulation and the recorded performance with an overall difference of 13.5%. The two-state simulation model was found to be capable of replicating performance at take-off and also of replicating key contact phase features such as the normal and tangential motion of the hands. The results of the two-state model were compared to those using a pseudo-Coulomb friction implementation within the simulation model. The two-state model achieved similar overall results to those of the pseudo-Coulomb model but obtained solutions more rapidly.