Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Interface shear and pressure characteristics of wheelchair seat cushions

Jonathan S. Akins, et al.


Results of (a) interface shear stress and (b) interface pressure across applied displacement (0, 10, 15, 20 mm) by material of construction: viscous fluid (n = 5), air cell (n = 7), elastic/VE foam (n = 4), and honeycomb (n = 3). Interface shear stress increased significantly across applied displacement (p ≤ 0.001) and interface pressure did not (p = 0.09). VE = viscoelastic.

Wheelchair seat cushions can provide users comfort, positioning, and protection from pressure ulcers. Users and clinicians have little scientific research on cushion properties and performance to assist them with the cushion selection process. This study provides data on the interface shear and pressure characteristics of cushions, which are two risk factors for pressure ulcer development. Interface shear results from force applied parallel to the skin surface, and interface pressure results from force applied perpendicular to the skin surface. Interface shear and pressure were measured for 21 commercial wheelchair seat cushions using a loading system. Cushions made with viscous fluid had the lowest interface shear stress, and cushions made with air cells had the lowest interface pressure.

Volume 48 Number 3, 2011
   Pages 225 — 234


View HTML  ¦  View PDF  ¦  Contents Vol. 48, No. 3
This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Akins JS, Karg PE, Brienza DM. Interface shear and pressure characteristics of wheelchair seat cushions. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2011;48(3):203-12.
DOI:10.1682/JRRD.2009.09.0145
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Last Reviewed or Updated  Tuesday, March 22, 2011 11:22 AM

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