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Wheelchair Armrest Strength Testing

Cooper, RA and Rentschler, AJ and O'Connor, TJ and Ster, JF (2000) Wheelchair Armrest Strength Testing. Assistive Technology, 12 (2). 106 - 115. ISSN 1040-0435

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There are about 1.4 million manual wheelchair users, 100,000 electric-powered wheelchair users, and 60,000 electric-powered scooter users. The current study was undertaken to determine if the fasteners of a clamp-type armrest receiver were prone to failure. The first test was used to examine the potential misalignment of the armrest receiver components that attach it to the frame. The second test was to evaluate the entire armrest using the American National Standards Institute/Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America armrest static strength standard. Finally, we conducted three fatigue tests. The first fatigue test was performed by repeating the static stability tests multiple times. The last two tests were a modified version of the double-drum wheelchair fatigue test used to apply repeated loading and vibration simultaneously. A paired t-test showed that there is no statistically significant difference (p = 0.08), with a confidence of 95%, between critical alignment measurements. The armrest including the receiver passed the standard requirement of a force of 760 N being applied outward at 15°. During fatigue testing, we found that armrests did not exhibit any visible or functional damage. Upon completion of the tests, the armrests and receivers functioned properly. At about 100,289 cycles on a double-drum test machine, three bolts failed on each armrest receiver when the screws were loosened to have only five threads engaged prior to commencing the test. The design of the armrest tested was in compliance with existing national and international standards. Currently, both International Standards Organization and American National Standards Institute/Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society committees are developing standards for seating systems that will include static, impact, and fatigue strength testing of devices like lateral torso supports, lateral hip support, etc. Methods similar to those explored in this study should be considered. This study may help manufacturers when designing products and purchasers or regulatory agencies when attempting to evaluate the safety and quality of armrest assemblies. © 2000 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Rentschler, AJ
O'Connor, TJ
Ster, JF
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Human Engineering Research Laboratories
Date: 31 December 2000
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Assistive Technology
Volume: 12
Number: 2
Page Range: 106 - 115
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1080/10400435.2000.10132016
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Rehabilitation Science and Technology
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1040-0435
MeSH Headings: Equipment Design; Humans; Materials Testing; Mechanics; Wheelchairs
PubMed ID: 11508400
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 20:50
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2019 13:55


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