The Effect of Model Design, Cushion Construction, and Thin Pressure Mats on Pressure Measurement
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Wheelchair cushions are designed to protect skin by reducing and distributing pressure. Pressure sensors and buttock models are used in standardized testing of wheelchair cushions. The purpose of this study was to explore how the presence of a thin pressure measurement mat, cushion construction, and buttock model design affect interface pressure (IP), envelopment, and immersion. Aspects reported here are the effect of model design on IP and envelopment and the interaction between model design and cushion construction. Testing was performed with two indenters and seven cushions. Conclusion: Wheelchair cushions deform in response to a loaded indenter. The result is a change in the shape of the indenter-cushion interface, which may not be consistent across loading trials. This is influenced by cushion stiffness and the unloaded shape of the cushion. The data suggests that model design influences the pressure redistribution properties of cushions. Therefore, development of standardized tests should consider the interaction between models and cushions.