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Assessment of wheelchair drag resistance using a coasting deceleration technique

, : Assessment of wheelchair drag resistance using a coasting deceleration technique. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 82(11): 880-9; Quiz 890-2

To apply a recently developed coasting deceleration method to measure rolling and aerodynamic resistances opposing wheelchair propulsion on a variety of different wheelchairs and wheel combinations and on two different ground surfaces. For each condition, 20-25 trials were performed across a speed range of approximately 70-300 m/min. The least-squares method was then used to arrive at values for the coefficient of rolling resistance (CR) and effective frontal area of the wheelchair and occupant. Wheelchair rolling resistance was found to be velocity dependent under some circumstances. CR values on linoleum differed among folding lightweight wheelchairs and when compared with a rigid ultralight and racing wheelchair. Changing rear wheels and tires on one wheelchair resulted in a 14% difference in CR. Carpet increased CR values by an average of 0.0118 over the values determined on linoleum. As expected, effective frontal area of the wheelchair and occupant values were lower for the racer than for the folding lightweight wheelchair. Wheelchair rolling resistance is not always independent of velocity, and CR on linoleum can vary among wheelchairs by as much as seven-fold, and carpet can more than double CR.


PMID: 14566157

DOI: 10.1097/01.PHM.0000091980.91666.58

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