Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 53 Number 6, 2016
   Pages 893 — 900

Abstract — The effect of caster wheel diameter and mass distribution on drag forces in manual wheelchairs

Rene Zepeda, BEng;1 Franco Chan, BASc;2 Bonita Sawatzky, PhD2–3*

1Department of Technological and Industrial Processes, Instituto tecnológico y de estudios superiores de occidente, Jalisco, Mexico; 2International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; 3Department of Orthopaedics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia. Vancouver, Canada

Abstract — This study proposes a way to reduce energy losses from rolling resistance friction during manual wheelchair propulsion by increasing the size of the front caster wheels and adjusting the weight distribution. Drag tests were conducted using a treadmill and a force transducer. Three different caster diameters (4 in., 5 in., and 6 in.) and six different mass distribution combinations (based on percentage of total weight on the caster wheels) were studied. A two-way analysis of variance test was performed to compare caster size and weight distribution contribution with drag force of an ultralight wheelchair. The 4 in. caster contributed significantly more drag, but only when weight was 40% or greater over the casters. Weight distribution contributed more to drag regardless of the casters used.

Key words: caster wheel, drag force, drag test, efficiency, friction, rolling resistance, treadmill, weight distribution, wheelchair, wheel diameter.


View HTML ?? View PDF ?? Contents Vol. 53, No. 6
This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Zepeda R, Chan F, Sawatzky B. The effect of caster wheel diameter and mass distribution on drag forces in manual wheelchairs. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2016;53(6):893–900. http://dx.doi.org/10.1682/JRRD.2015.05.0074
ORCID: Bonita Sawatzky, PhD: 0000-0002-8901-2301
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