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Title: Differences between machine and human testing of shock absorbing systems
Author: Alcantara Alcover, Enrique
ISNI:       0000 0001 3410 2281
Awarding Body: Middlesex University
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis documents a study on the sources of the differences found between results from machine and walking testing of shock absorbing systems. A complex programme of experiments was conducted at the Institute of Biomechanics of Valencia to explore the four most outstanding statements proposed with this respect: 1. - No accurate simulation of impacts by machine test. This was investigated by comparing results from testing materials simulating impact forces with results from walking tests. 2. - In use materials degrade and their properties change and existing machine testing methods could not replicate material properties during walking. A new testing method was developed to measure the recovery ability of materials by simulating plantar pressures and results compared with walking tests. 3. - Shoe effect on walking kinematics and heel pad confinement has greater influence on shock absorption than material properties. An instrumented pendulum was developed to study the heel pad. Insole materials were evaluated in walking tests, in pendulum tests and in different machine testing including the new method developed simulating plantar pressures and the results compared. 4. - Accommodation to impact conditions occurs according to a controlled proprioceptive feedback model. Accommodation, impact perception, comfort, walking and passive biomechanical variables and material properties were studied in relation to system's input, output and goal. Accurate simulation of impacts improved the ability of machine test to predict the walking performance of materials, but not upper body shock transmission. Properties of materials such as recovery ability, stiffness and hardness play an important role in concepts and passive interaction but mainly by influencing accommodation. Accommodation was identified as the source of differences of results between machine and walking tests of shock absorbing materials. The human body was described as comprising two independent mechanical systems: One system, governed by the elasticity and hardness of materials, it is defined by impact forces and accelerations that are inversely related to upper body transmission and control the perceived impact through foot position and knee bend. The other system is defined by heel pad stiffness, insole properties at initial loading and passive interaction that regulate upper body shock transmission by ankle inversion for comfort control. Passive interaction is defined in this thesis as the mechanical coupling between insole and heel pad that determines the properties of the system either through heel pad confinement or compression. Machine tests appear to predict results with respect to the first system but not the second, which required passive human testing. For insole use, high-energy absorption materials are preferred. These are capable of increasing elastic deformation to reduce impact forces and accelerations without increasing initial-maximal stiffness by passive interaction thus avoiding any increase of head transmission due to accommodation. Heel pad properties were described by three mechanical components accounting for 93.08% of total variance: These are an elastic component, a viscoelastic component and a component related to elastic deformation at low stiffness. Differences were found between shod and barefoot test results. With barefoot there was an initial low stiffness (18-50 kNm*1) response that was not evident in the shod tests which showed elastic deformation related to final stiffness. With barefoot, the elastic component accounted for impact forces variance (> 70%) and initial deformation component for peak force time (> 60%), while shod impact forces were related mainly to the elastic deformation component (> 60%) whereas rate of loading and acceleration were related to the initial-maximal stiffness component (>20%). Differences in heel pad mechanics due to age, gender and obesity were observed. Although the heel pad properties degraded with age, losses appeared to be compensated by obesity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available