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Fluid Pressures at the Shoe-Floor-Contaminant Interface During Slips: Effects of Tread & Implications on Slip Severity
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Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    24267270
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC5760193
  • Description:
    Previous research on slip and fall accidents has suggested that pressurized fluid between the shoe and floor is responsible for initiating slips yet this effect has not been verified experimentally. This study aimed to (1) measure hydrodynamic pressures during slipping for treaded and untreaded conditions; (2) determine the effects of fluid pressure on slip severity; and (3) quantify how fluid pressures vary with instantaneous resultant slipping speed, position on the shoe surface, and throughout the progression of the slip. Eighteen subjects walked on known dry and unexpected slippery floors, while wearing treaded and untreaded shoes. Fluid pressure sensors, embedded in the floor, recorded hydrodynamic pressures during slipping. The maximum fluid pressures (mean+/-standard deviation) were significantly higher for the untreaded conditions (124+/-75 kPa) than the treaded conditions (1.1+/-0.29 kPa). Maximum fluid pressures were positively correlated with peak slipping speed (r=0.87), suggesting that higher fluid pressures, which are associated with untreaded conditions, resulted in more severe slips. Instantaneous resultant slipping speed and position of sensor relative to the shoe sole and walking direction explained 41% of the fluid pressure variability. Fluid pressures were primarily observed for untreaded conditions. This study confirms that fluid pressures are relevant to slipping events, consistent with fluid dynamics theory (i.e. the Reynolds equation), and can be modified with shoe tread design. The results suggest that the occurrence and severity of unexpected slips can be reduced by designing shoes/floors that reduce underfoot fluid pressures.

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