Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 52 Number 7, 2015
   Pages 763 — 774

Abstract — Evaluation of wheelchair resistive forces during straight and turning trajectories across different wheelchair configurations using free-wheeling coast-down test

Jui-Te Lin, MS;1* Morris Huang, BSME;2 Stephen Sprigle, PhD, PT1

Departments of 1Applied Physiology and 2Bioengineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

Abstract — The purpose of this study was to develop a simple approach to evaluate resistive frictional forces acting on manual wheelchairs (MWCs) during straight and turning maneuvers. Using a dummy-occupied MWC, decelerations were measured via axle-mounted encoders during a coast-down protocol that included straight trajectories and fixed-wheel turns. Eight coast-down trials were conducted to test repeatability and repeated on separate days to evaluate reliability. Without changing the inertia of the MWC system, three tire inflations were chosen to evaluate the sensitivity in discerning deceleration differences using effect sizes. The technique was also deployed to investigate the effect of different MWC masses and weight distributions on resistive forces. Results showed that the proposed coast-down technique had good repeatability and reliability in measuring decelerations and had good sensitivity in discerning differences in tire inflation, especially during turning. The results also indicated that increased loading on drive wheels reduced resistive losses in straight trajectories while increasing resistive losses during turning. During turning trajectories, the presence of tire scrub contributes significantly to the amount of resistive force. Overall, this new coast-down technique demonstrates satisfactory repeatability and sensitivity for detecting deceleration changes during straight and turning trajectories, indicating that it can be used to evaluate resistive loss of different MWC configurations and maneuvers.

Key words: coast-down test, friction, mass distribution, pneumatic tire, rehabilitation, rolling resistance, tire pressure, tire scrub, turning resistance, wheelchair, wheeled mobility.


View HTML ¦ View PDF ¦ Contents Vol. 52, No.7

This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Lin J, Huang M, Sprigle S. Evaluation of wheelchair resistive forces during straight and turning trajectories across different wheelchair configurations using free-wheeling coast-down test. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2015; 52(7):763–74.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1682/JRRD.2014.10.0235
ResearcherID/ORCID: Jui-Te Lin, MS: K-8908-2015; Morris Huang, BSME: K-9311-2015; Stephen Sprigle, PhD, PT: 0000-0003-0462-0138
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