Premature wheelchair failure could injure users and require them to pay for replacements. This study evaluated aluminum ultralight rigid wheelchairs (AURWs) using ANSI/RESNA wheelchair standards, compared the test results among three ultralight wheelchair groups (AURWs, titanium ultralight rigid wheelchairs [TURWs], and aluminum ultralight folding wheelchairs), and investigated the effect of frame material on durability. We tested 12 AURWs with similar frame deigns and dimensions as TURWs and hypothesized that the AURWs would be more durable. We found no significant differences between the AURWs and TURWs except in their overall length. Through comparing the failure modes, frames, and components, we propose that tire pressure, tube wall thickness, and tube manufacturing are the factors affecting wheelchair durability. Although the performance of a wheelchair in a natural environment may vary from the test results because of different wheelchair settings and usage conditions, results of standards tests provide a baseline for comparison. Proper interpretation of the results contributes more detailed and objective information to consumers, clinicians, engineers, and manufacturers.
Volume 47 Number 5, 2010
Pages 441 — 456
Last Reviewed or Updated Friday, July 30, 2010 12:21 PM