Kinetic coefficients of friction for stainless steel, beta-titanium, nickel-titanium, and cobalt-chromium arch wires were measured on a smooth stainless steel or Teflon surface. A universal materials testing instrument was used to pull 0.017 X 0.025-inch rectangular arch wires through a pneumatically controlled binding surface. Classical friction relationships were evaluated by varying applied normal force--similar to ligature tie force--via this pneumatic control. Coefficients of friction were determined under dry and wet (artificial saliva) conditions. Frictional force values, and thus coefficients of friction, were found to increase with increasing normal force for all materials. Beta-titanium and stainless steel wires sliding against stainless steel, and stainless steel wire on Teflon consistently exhibited the lowest dry friction values. Artificial saliva increased friction for stainless steel, beta-titanium, and nickel-titanium wires sliding against stainless steel. Artificial saliva did not increase friction for cobalt chromium, stainless steel sliding against stainless steel, or stainless steel wire on Teflon compared to the dry condition. Stainless steel and beta-titanium wires sliding against stainless steel and stainless steel wire on Teflon showed the lowest friction values for the wet condition.