Shock Absorbing Flooring For Elderly Homes : Study of Shock Absorption of Head Impacts and Rolling Resistance

University essay from KTH/Skolan för kemi, bioteknologi och hälsa (CBH)

Abstract: In Sweden fall-related injuries among the elderly lead to over a thousand deaths and close to 300.0000 hospital visitations annually. Fall related injuries can in many cases lead to serious head injuries along with other fractures. The elderly are more prone to fall and sustain an injury because of conditions such as osteoporosis and weak muscles. Researchers at KTH from the Division of Neuronic Engineering have developed a special floor that absorbs energy from an impact which can reduce the severity of injury when a person falls. There has been research done on the floor focusing on hip fractures which have shown good results. The floor has been set up in an elderly home in Stureby, Stockholm, Sweden, however further testing is needed to fully develop the floor to its maximum capacity. One goal of this master thesis was to investigate certain obstacles with the floor which arose during testing in Stureby. One of the challenges was that the floor had greater rolling resistance since it is softer than a normal concrete floor. The experiment was done by using a dynamo meter to measure the force needed to move a test wagon with a fixed weight and different sizes of wheels. Another goal of this thesis was to investigate head impacts on the KTH floor. That was done in a helmet testing lab at Mips helmet company. There a dummy head was dropped from various heights and the acceleration was measured. The 1st principle strain of the brain was calculated from the collected data. Other companies have created similar floors so it was a part of the thesis to compare the KTH floor with its competitors. The results from the rolling resistance showed that by increasing the width and diameter of the wheels there was less force needed to move the test wagon. Further tests are needed to investigate the problem regarding the indentation issues seen on the floor set up in Stureby. Some research has already begun with different types of linoleum and glue. In the head impact studies, the KTH floor showed the best results of all tested floors when dropped from 60 cm. However, when dropped from 100 cm a competitor floor showed better results in the resultant translational acceleration.

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