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Title: Surface pressure and seated discomfort
Authors: Shen, Wenqi
Issue Date: 1994
Publisher: © W. Shen 1994
Abstract: This thesis presents experimental studies on the relationship between external surface pressure and the perceived discomfort in seated body areas, in particular those under the ischial tuberosity and the mid-thigh. It consists of three parts. Part one provides a comprehensive review of the existing knowledge concerning seated discomfort. The current assessment methods of seated discomfort are summarised, with the emphasis on the validity and reliability of the rating scale methods. The implications of surface pressure to seated people are outlined from the perspective of clinical, sensory and perceptual, and ergonomics domains. A brief review of current technologies for pressure measurement is also provided. Part two presents the experimental work. It starts with an exploratory assessment model of seated discomfort, based on pressure measures. Two preliminary experiments were conducted to test the feasibility of the model. Three further psychophysical experiments were carried out to test the validity and reliability of the selected six rating scales, and to investigate the effects of surface pressure levels on perceived pressure intensity and discomfort in the seated mid-thigh and ischial tuberosity areas. Surface pressure stimuli were applied to a seated body area of 3,318 mm2• Subjects judged three items of sensations: pressure intensity, local discomfort, and the overall discomfort. The main results are: I) A 50-point category partitioning scale was identified to be most sensitive and reliable for scaling pressure intensity and discomfort; 2) Sensations of pressure intensity and discomfort linearly increase with the logarithm of the pressure stimulus level; 3) Thresholds for pressure intensity and discomfort in the seated ischium and thigh areas were derived; 4) The sensitivity of intensity and discomfort to the stimuli differs between the locations .The mid-thigh is more sensitive to surface pressure than the ischium. It is considered that this is due to differences in load adaptation, body tissue composition and deformation; 5) Local pressure discomfort dominates the overall discomfort, and ratings of the local discomfort are higher than those of overall discomfort. Part three discusses the findings from this research. Four integration models of the overall discomfort from local discomfort components were proposed. The Weighted Average model asserts that the overall discomfort is a linear combination of local discomfort components, and that the weight of each local discomfort is the proportion of this component out of the arithmetic sum of all local discomfort components. The mechanisms of discomfort were analysed. The fundamental research presented herein uniquely contributes to the knowledge on the human perception of seated pressure discomfort. Although this is not application based, the findings contribute to the methods of seating comfort evaluation as well as provide criteria by which seat designers may formulate design requirements.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/11126
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Design School)

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