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Contact pressure measurement in hand tool evaluation studies

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Author: Kuijt-Evers, L.F.M. · Bosch, T.
Publisher: Elsevier
Place: Oxford
Institution: TNO Kwaliteit van Leven
Source:Pikaar, R.N.Koningsveld, E.A.P.Settels, P.J.M., IEA 2006, 16th World Congress on Ergonomics "Meeting diversity in ergonomics"
Identifier: 277908
Keywords: Ergonomics · Arbeidsproductiviteit


In hand tool evaluation studies, several objective measurements are used. Grip force distribution and grip force are important as they give feedback about the force which has to be performed with the hand on the handle. A measurement technique -which is related to grip force measurement- is contact pressure on the hand surface. With a hand mat it is possible to measure contact pressure over a larger area. In the current study contact pressure of hand saws was measured. 12 Carpenters evaluated five hand saws. Contact pressure (average pressure, pressure area and P-t integral) was measured under static and dynamic circumstances. Data of subjective comfort and locally perceived discomfort were also collected. Pressure area, P-t integral, comfort and locally perceived discomfort were significantly different between hand saws (p<.05). Significant relationships existed between P-t integral and comfort (beta –0.24, p<.01) and between the contact area (beta 0.45, p<.01) and P-t integral (beta 0.29, p<.01) with locally perceived discomfort during static contact pressure measurement. Application of the hand mat leads to difficulties in some situations. Pressure measurements of handles with a small diameter (<15 mm) is not possible as the hand mat will be damaged by too much folding. Shear forces can also damage the hand mat. Another disadvantage is that it is hard to locate the contact pressure area on the hand after the measurements. However, the big advantage of using a hand mat, in stead of separate force sensors, is that one can measure for instance the size of the contact area on the hand. This has proven to be an important variable that affects locally perceived discomfort