Logo for the Journal of Rehab R and D

Volume 46 Number 7, 2009
   Pages 931 — 938

Abstract —  Evaluation of wheelchair tire rolling resistance using dynamometer-based coast-down tests

Andrew M. Kwarciak, MS;1 Mathew Yarossi, BS;1* Arvind Ramanujam, MS;1 Trevor A. Dyson-Hudson, MD;1-2 Sue Ann Sisto, PT, PhD1-3

1Kessler Foundation Research Center, West Orange, NJ; 2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ; 3Division of Rehabilitation Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

Abstract — The objective of this study was to compare the rolling resistance of four common manual wheelchair tires (two pneumatic and two airless solid) and the solid tires used on a commercially available force- and moment-sensing wheel. Coast-down tests were performed with a wheelchair positioned on a two-drum dynamometer. Within each of three load conditions, tire type had a significant effect on rolling resistance (p < 0.001). The pneumatic tires had smaller rolling resistances and were less affected by load increases than the solid tires. Within the two tire types, higher air pressure or firmness and lower profile tread corresponded to less rolling resistance. Wheelchair users, clinicians, and researchers must consider the effect of tire type on wheelchair rolling resistance when selecting a manual wheelchair tire.

Key words: coast-down test, dynamometer, inflation pressure, manual wheelchair, pneumatic tire, rehabilitation, rolling resistance, solid tire, tire type, wheeled mobility.

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