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Title: The development of pressure relieving devices by using three-dimensional knitting structures for healthcare and wellbeing
Author: Hepburn, Carol D.
Awarding Body: University of Bolton
Current Institution: University of Bolton
Date of Award: 2017
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A critical and recurrent problem for wheel chair users are the development of decubitus ulcers, also known as pressure ulcers, pressure sores or bed sores. For some wheelchair users, this can be life threatening, whereas for the majority, it is a huge disruption and major complication in their personal life. During this research a series of pressure relieving cushions were created. Three innovative contoured prototype wheelchair cushions were developed and fully characterised, utilising 3D warp knitted spacer fabrics. A uniquely constructed contoured recess was developed for each prototype wheelchair cushion, which successfully protected the most vulnerable part of the human buttocks, the Ischial Tuberosities. Using a methodology which utilised a pressure mapping system; a simulated human buttocks template, the Rigid Loading Cushion Indenter and a computerised universal tester, the prototype cushions were characterised for their pressure distribution properties. This allowed the measuring of pressure distribution while under simulated loading conditions. These prototype wheelchair cushions were able to demonstrate low peak pressures in the area of the vulnerable Ischial Tuberosities, which ranged from 17.7mmHg – 32.9mmHg. This measuring system was also used to compare, the prototype 3D spacer wheelchair cushions against a small selection of commercially available foam wheelchair cushions. Pressure results for the commercial foam cushions ranged from 50.4mmHg – 79.0mmHg peak pressure in Ischial Tuberosities area. The flammability behaviour of 3D warp knitted spacer fabrics, in the context of pressure relieving cushions, were also investigated by using a modified ‘Mydrin’ test method, adapted to test the multiple layers found within the prototype cushions. The resulting outcome was a better understanding of the flammability behaviour of the warp knitted spacer fabrics within multiple layers, as well as enhancing the flame retardancy properties of the prototype wheelchair cushions. These prototype cushions satisfied the requirements of BS 5852 Ignition Source 5 (Crib 5) and BS 7175: 1989 Section 3 Ignition source 5. Leading on from this research, a patent application is being processed, covering the successful development of the three prototype contoured 3D spacer fabric wheelchair cushions, ASD4, ASD4-S and ASD450-S. The prototype wheelchair cushions have been designed and developed with the following characteristics: 1. A shaped/contoured surface which can re-distribute high pressure points normally located in vulnerable areas of an immobile and seated person, to under 50.0mmHg in the Ischial Tuberosities. 2. Peak pressures could be reduced and distributed evenly over a much larger area of these cushions than basic PU foam. This series of prototype 3D warp knitted spacer fabric wheelchair cushions will assist in the prevention of debilitating pressure ulcers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available